German FM rules out sending troops to fight Mali rebels
Sun Jan 13, 2013 1:37PM
It was right that France responded to the request for help from the Malian government (but) the deployment of German combat troops is not up for debate." German Foreign Minister Guido WesterwelleGerman Foreign Minister has ruled out sending troops to fight militants in Mali, calling for a political solution to the ongoing violence in the African country. "It was right that France responded to the request for help from the Malian government (but) the deployment of German combat troops is not up for debate," Guido Westerwelle said in a statement on Sunday. France took military action in Mali last week to halt advances made by the rebels who control the north of the West African country. On Friday, the Malian army said it has driven back militants from the town of Konna, after France intervened with airstrikes to halt advances made by fighters.
Westerwelle called for political mediation in the conflict saying that Germany would decide whether to participate in a European Union training mission for the Malian forces when the plans for the deployment were completed."A lasting resolution to the Mali conflict can only occur through a political solution that includes a return to order in the whole of Mali, taking into account the justified concerns of the north," he said. In December 2012, the United Nations Security Council approved the deployment of foreign military forces in Mali to help the government battle the militants controlling the northern part of the West African country. The 15-member Security Council authorized an initial one-year deployment of African Union forces in the country. The resolution, drafted by France, also authorized all European Union member states to help rebuild Mali's security forces. Chaos broke out in the West African country after Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said they had mounted the coup in response to the government's inability to contain the two-month Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country. TE/PKH