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More French help needed in Mali

PARIS, July 16 (UPI) -- Multilateral military operations in Mali may require additional support from former colonial power France, the U.N. secretary-general said.

The Malian government in January called for military support from France to help fight al-Qaida and nomadic rebels who took control over parts of the country following a coup in 2012.

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U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed French military support for Mali during a visit this week with French President Francois Hollande.

Ban told French leaders a U.N. peacekeeping mission, known by its initials MINUMSMA, has a mandate to use "all necessary means" to ensure peace and stability in Mali.

"As you know well, the mandate of MINUSMA requires many capabilities such as armed military helicopters," the secretary-general said in a statement Monday. "I asked the president to consider providing such capabilities."

MINUSMA in early July took control over security operations in Mali from an African-led force.

The International Committee of the Red Cross said in June there were nearly 24,000 people displaced by conflict who are in need of some form of humanitarian assistance in Mali. The ability to address those needs, however, are hampered by widespread regional insecurity.

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The Malian government said it was committed to comprehensive elections July 28.

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