The World Court on Friday ordered Burkina Faso and Mali to withdraw their troops from a long-disputed border area and asked them to observe the cease-fire that ended their five-day flare-up last month.
Burkina Faso, formerly Upper Volta, had asked the court for an emergency ruling last week, and a hearing was held Thursday.
A troop pullout accord "within 20 days . . . should be determined by an agreement between the governments," the court said, adding a request to both sides to observe the 11-day-old truce to "avoid the aggravation and the extension of the conflict."
The World Court, formally the International Court of Justice, is the judicial arm of the United Nations. It depends on voluntary adherence to its rulings.
On Dec. 25, Malian troops attacked four villages that Burkina Faso claims are within its territory. Several hundred people were reported killed in the fighting that followed.
The battle was over a border area 110 miles long and 35 miles deep that is believed to have valuable mineral deposits.
The court did not specify withdrawal positions but said it will set withdrawal terms if the two nations are unable to reach agreement within 20 days.