U.N. Security Council to meet on Mali

Jan. 13, 2013 at 6:13 PM
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BAMAKO, Mali, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- France has called a U.N. Security Council meeting Monday to hold consultations on Mali, the French U.N. Mission said on its website.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron has pledged Britain will provide non-combat help to France's military intervention in Mali, British officials said Sunday.

Cameron committed to providing two planes to transport troops and their equipment within a day or two, The Times said in London.

The agreement came in a phone call between Cameron and French President Francois Hollande, the newspaper said.

The prime ministers office stressed no British troops would not engage in combat in Mali.

"The prime minister spoke to President Hollande to discuss the deteriorating situation in Mali and how the U.K. can support French military assistance provided to the Malian government to contain rebel and extremist groups in the north of the country," a Cameron spokesman said.

French jets Sunday again bombarded Mali, where Islamist extremists have occupied the northern part of the country for the past nine months, officials said.

Sunday was the third day of a French intervention in the West African country, Radio France Internationale reported.

"There were [airstrikes] last night, there are now and there will be today and tomorrow," French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said.

"Our intervention is ongoing and we will continue in order to make them [Islamist fighters] retreat and allow Malian and African forces to go forward and re-establish the territorial integrity of the country," Le Drian said.

African troops were expected to start arriving in Mali Sunday; Burkina Faso, Niger and Senegal Saturday each pledged 500 troops for an African-led intervention in Mali.

Hollande met with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso Saturday to discuss the situation in Mali, Euronews.net reported.

Afterward, Hollande said: "The fight against terrorism also means we have to take all precautionary measures necessary here in France. I have asked the prime minister to reinforce France's national security alert system, and to establish surveillance of public buildings and transport infrastructure."

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