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France wins EU support for Mali operation

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16:47 CET+01:00
France won support from European Union nations on Thursday for its military campaign in Mali and offers of military aid, possibly including troops, at emergency talks on the crisis.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said after the talks that "all the countries expressed their solidarity with Mali and support for France's action".

Many planned to offer logistical or material support to back efforts by France and African troops to rout Islamist insurgents, he said.

Some of France's partners were mulling "an offer of troops" though "we won't force anyone," he added. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, asked at a separate press
conference what help might be forthcoming, replied that "many countries said they were very willing to help and to support France in every way, and they did not rule in or rule out any aspect of that, including military support."

Ashton also insisted that France was not acting on its own.

"We have been in touch with Paris since before this operation took place.... The EU's role is to come and support France in its operations ... you have seen that in the support, logistical and otherwise that has come from other member states," she said.

"We were united in welcoming the quick response of France" last week in stopping a march on the Malian capital, Bamako, by Islamist rebels, Ashton
added.

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