News / Africa

France Says 1,800 Mauritania Troops Headed to Mali

FILE - French President Francois Hollande, right, and Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Elysee Palace, Paris, Nov. 20, 2012.
FILE - French President Francois Hollande, right, and Mauritania's President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, Elysee Palace, Paris, Nov. 20, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Reuters
— Mauritania will send 1,800 troops to Mali as part of a planned U.N. force to keep the peace in the West African nation after a French-led offensive that has ousted Islamist rebels from the desert north, France's foreign minister said on Thursday.
 
Laurent Fabius said a U.N. Security Council resolution to approve the creation of a 12,600-strong U.N. peacekeeping force from July 1 should be approved as soon as next week.
 
That force, expected to be made up primarily of African contingents, will take up the slack as France starts drawing down its 4,000-strong force to just 1,000 by year-end.
 
Mauritania, an Islamic republic which borders Mali to the west, has one of the most effective armies in the region, with experience of battling Islamist fighters in desert terrain but has so far remained aloof from the Malian conflict.
 
"The Mauritanian president on Monday evening told me he was ready ... to send 1,800 troops to this future U.N. contingent," Fabius told the European parliament's foreign affairs committee in Strasbourg. "It's important because Mauritanians are good fighters, have a lot of experience and its geographical location is significant."
 
Fabius made his comments after visiting Mauritania this week. Mauritanian officials declined to comment.
 
France, aided by about 2,400 troops from Chad, began a military offensive in January to drive out Islamist fighters, who had hijacked a revolt by Mali's Tuareg rebels and seized two-thirds of the West African country.
 
Some 6,000 troops from the West African regional force MISMA are also supporting the Malian army but have barely engaged in combat.
 
Chad, whose soldiers are deemed the most battle-hardened in the region, said on Sunday it would also withdraw from Mali, although left open the door to return under a U.N. mandate.
 
France has already said its 1,000 troops would be at the disposal of the Malian government and U.N. peacekeepers to quickly respond against any future militant attacks.
 
"Let's be blunt. We don't want them coming back, so we need to take precautions," Fabius said. "A U.N. peacekeeping force doesn't do that so the French will be there to do that job if necessary."

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid