Cameron: No British boots on Malian ground

Jan. 14, 2013 at 12:27 PM
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LONDON, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- The British government will provide logistical military support to help transport foreign forces and equipment for Mali, the prime minister said.

British Prime Minister David Cameron spoke with French President Francois Hollande to discuss the Parisian military operation in Mali.

Hollande last week agreed to a request issued by the central government in Mali to send forces to the country, a former French colony, as foreign fighters and Islamic rebels moved south toward the capital city. Anti-government forces claimed authority over north Mali in early 2012 amid a series of political crises in the capital, Bamako.

A statement issued from Cameron's office said he was committed to a logistical role that would get foreign forces and military equipment into Mali as soon as possible.

"We will not be deploying any British personnel in a combat role," the statement read.

The U.N. Security Council had authorized a military plan spelled out by members of the African community to help settle the crisis. The Economic Community of West African States, in a statement, said it was taking steps to send its own forces to Mali.

"The (ECOWAS) commission thanks the African Union, United Nations, partner countries and the international community for their support and calls on all to actively and urgently contribute to efforts aimed at stabilizing the situation," a statement from the African alliance read.

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