Monday Feb 04, 201304:16 PM GMT
US, France agree to set up UN Mali force: US VP
US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and French President Francois Hollande pictured in Paris on February 4, 2013.
US Vice President Joe Biden (L) and French President Francois Hollande pictured in Paris on February 4, 2013.
US Vice President Joe Biden says Washington and Paris agreed on a need to hand over the French led war in Mali to a UN mission.


"We agreed on the need to as quickly as reasonably possible establish the African-led international mission in Mali and as quickly as is prudent transition that mission to the United Nations," Biden said on Monday after a meeting with French President Francois Hollande in Paris.

Biden arrived in the French capital on Sunday to hold talks with Hollande over several issues including French war in the West African country of Mali.

He said on Saturday that US praised France’s war launched in Mali on January 11 under the pretext of halting the advance of the fighters in the African country.

He said the US “stands with France and other partners in Mali” and “provides intelligence support, transportation for the French and African troops and refueling capability for French aircraft," there.

He added that the fight “may be far from America's borders, but it is fundamentally in America's interest.”

It came as French planes reportedly carried out airstrikes around Kidal and Tessalit in Mali's far north from Saturday night into the early hours of Sunday.

Hollande visited the Malian capital, Bamako, on Saturday, and told Malian that French troops would stay in Mali as long as necessary.

Thousands of people in Mali have been forced to flee their homes amid the French war, which involved some 3,500 troops on the ground supported by warplanes, helicopters and armored vehicles.

Analysts believe behind the military campaign are Mali’s untapped resources, including oil, gold, as well as the uranium in the region.

SAB/JR
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