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Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:4PM
French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian

France says it will give logistical support for any military intervention in northern Mali, which was taken over by rebel groups earlier this year. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian made the announcement in Paris on Thursday, a day after West African ministers discussed the possible deployment of regional troops in northern Mali. He said the initiative for military intervention would come from African states, saying "clearly, that is being developed." The French defense minister noted that logistical support means indirect support, sending material, but not men. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has been considering sending 3,300 regional troops to help restore order in northern Mali. When the French foreign minister was asked about armed intervention, he said: "There is a process that has already been initiated as the president of Mali on Monday appealed” to his ECOWAS neighbors in the Ivorian capital Abdijan “for their help recapturing the north." In January, Tuareg fighters in the north of the country revolted against the government in Bamako to demand an independent homeland. On March 22, renegade Malian soldiers led by Amadou Haya Sanogo toppled President Touré, and took control of government institutions. The coup leaders said they mounted the coup out of anger at the government's inability to contain the two-month-old Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country. The irony was that rebels managed to take full control of the region, which is the size of France, immediately after the coup. GJH/MA
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