EU to speed up preparations for Mali army training mission

BRUSSELS Fri Jan 11, 2013 9:59am EST

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BRUSSELS Jan 11 (Reuters) - The European Union will speed up preparations to send a team to Mali to help train the country's army to fight Islamist rebels, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Friday.

"The European Union ... will accelerate preparations for the deployment of a military mission to Mali to provide training and advice to the Malian forces," Ashton said in a statement, saying she was very concerned about military movements by Islamist militants in Mali.

The European Union would look at further targeted sanctions against all groups affiliated to militant organisations "if need be", she said.

A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

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