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Germany to boost troop presence in Mali

Feb. 5, 2014 at 9:55 AM

BERLIN, Feb. 5 (UPI) -- Germany said Wednesday it approved of a plan to dispatch military trainers to assist French operations in Mali.

The Malian government in early 2013 called for military support from former colonial power France to help fight al-Qaida and nomadic rebels who seized territory in the northern part of the country.

The German government said Wednesday it would add as many as 250 trainers to its 100-member unit taking part in the mission in Mali, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported.

The government said Mali has made progress since legislative elections last year, but more support was needed to ensure long-term stability. The renewed mandate for the German mission in Mali lasts until February 2015.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power visited Mali this week, becoming the first sitting U.S. Cabinet-level official to visit the country in more than a decade.

She said progress was evident, but the "multitude of scars" left over from past conflicts haven't yet healed.

"We do not want to see history repeat itself," she said in a Tuesday statement. "This is the moment to build a new, brighter future for all the Malian people."

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