PARIS, Oct. 31 (UPI) -- France has been asked to allow two Russian spy planes to be deployed at a French base in Djibouti to help track down pirates, the Russian defense minister says.
Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov said Wednesday the Ilyushin Il-38 naval reconnaissance planes would improve Russia's ability to spot pirates plaguing waters off the coast of Somalia, RIA Novosti reported.
Djibouti is at the juncture of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden. The French base is home to several thousand French service members and a number of military aircraft.
More than 130 commercial vessels have been safely conducted along the coast of East Africa by Russian warships since 2008 as a part of an international anti-piracy mission.
Serdyukov announced the request after the conclusion of the Russian-French Security Council in Paris.