Topic: Conflict in Mali
- French President Vows Aid in Mali Restoration
- Mali Journal: Army Iron and a Forest of Fridges
- Mali Journal: In the Islamists’ Wake
- Ambassador's Notebook: Mali: Echoes of the Libyan Conflict
WARSAW, February 4 (RIA Novosti) - The Czech Republic plans to send combat instructors to Mali to join a military operation against Islamist militants in the north of the country, Czech radio reported citing the foreign minister said.
According to Czech Foreign Minister and First Deputy Prime Minister Karel Schwarzenberg, the participation of the Czech Republic in the anti-Islamist operation, would prove that his country “is a reliable ally that can help the army of Mali.”
“This proposal must be endorsed at a session of the Czech cabinet of ministers and then voted upon in the parliament,” Schwarzenberg said.
The West African nation of Mali has been in crisis since its Soviet-trained president Amadou Toumani Touré was ousted in a coup in March 2012, and a coalition of Islamist groups seized the north of the country.
The 15-member UN Security Council unanimously voted in December to give the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) an initial one-year mandate.
More than 2,000 Chadian soldiers and 500 troops from Niger are being deployed in Niger, near the Mali border, as part of the UN-mandated African force.
A week ago the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed to send additional troops to the country.
France deployed its own military contingent on January 10 to aid Mali’s government, whose army had been retreating before the attack of armed groups with ties to al-Qaeda. The French contingent on the ground now totals 2,800 troops.
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