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France Says International Intervention in Mali Weeks Away

  • VOA News

France's defense minister says an international military operation to help oust Islamic militants from northern Mali will get under way in a matter of weeks.

Jean-Yves Le Drian spoke to France 2 television on Tuesday, days after the U.N. Security Council passed a resolution clearing the way for the deployment of foreign troops to Mali.

He said France will not send any troops, but will provide logistical support.

Mali's interim government requested the forces to help drive out the militant groups that took control of northern Mali following a coup earlier this year.

The U.N. resolution gives West African nations 45 days to offer details of a plan for military intervention. It also asks U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to provide military and security planners to help the West African bloc ECOWAS and the African Union organize the proposed force.

ECOWAS has offered to send about 3,000 soldiers to stabilize Mali, rebuild the country's army and help oust the militants in the north.

The Security Council must still approve a more detailed plan in a second resolution.

France was a sponsor of the resolution approved Friday, and has led the call for action in Mali in the Security Council.