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Global Conflicts/Terrorism

[Published: Tuesday January 29 2013]

UK troops to join EU training forces in Mali

London, 29 Jan - (ANA) - The United Kingdom, UK,  is to send troops to train forces in Mali, as part of a joint EU mission. Government officials said Prime Minister David Cameron spoke to French President Francois Hollande on Sunday evening about further possible British help for French forces in Mali. The UK said it was "ready to provide further assistance where we can and depending what French requests may be". French-led troops have taken Timbuktu in their operation against Islamists.still no question of British forces taking on a combat role in Mali. But the UK has made clear to France that it is ready to offer more help towards its operations there. Any further assistance is likely to be in the areas of logistics, surveillance, intelligence and transport, on top of the training already being discussed. The UK's National Security Adviser, Sir Kim Darroch, has been in Paris to discuss what further help the UK could provide to France's operation to drive Islamist militants from its former colony. The Prime Minister's office said Mr Cameron told Mr Hollande that Britain was "keen" to provide further military assistance. The UK is likely to form part of a European Union military training mission in Mali. Numbers for this will be discussed in Brussels, with the British contribution likely to be in the tens. The UK may also help to provide more military trainers for forces such as Nigeria's, for operations under the banner of the African-led international support mission to Mali. RAF C17 transport planes are already flying French equipment to Mali, and the UK has also contributed a Sentinel reconnaissance aircraft for intelligence gathering. The French and Malian military said troops encountered little resistance when they entered the historic city of Timbuktu. Mr Hollande said joint forces, which have been pushing north in their offensive against Islamist rebels, were "winning this battle". They seized Gao, northern Mali's biggest city, on Saturday. Islamists took the north of the country last year, but have been losing ground since French forces launched an operation earlier this month.(ANA)
FA/ANA/29 January 2013-----------


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