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Tue Feb 5, 2013 9:32AM
French soldiers in Mali (file photo)

French soldiers in Mali (file photo)

The Czech Republic has announced plans to dispatch combat instructors to participate in the French war on Mali. Czech Foreign Minister and First Deputy Prime Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said on Monday that by joining the French war in Mali, his country seeks to prove that it “is a reliable ally that can help the army of Mali.” “This proposal must be endorsed at a session of the Czech cabinet of ministers and then voted upon in the parliament,” he added. 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. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said more than 5,000 Malian refugees have arrived in Mauritania alone since January 11, when France launched the war under the pretext of halting the advance of the fighters in the African country. The United States, Canada, Britain, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark have already said they would support the French war in Mali. Analysts believe behind the military campaign are Mali’s untapped resources, including oil, gold, as well as the uranium in the region. ASH/HN