France seeks Gulf Arab help for Mali anti-rebel push

ABU DHABI Tue Jan 15, 2013 3:02am EST

ABU DHABI (Reuters) - France expects Gulf Arab states will help an African campaign against Islamist rebels in Mali, possibly with materials or financing, Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Tuesday.

In response to questions from reporters on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, Fabius added that the presence of French troops on the ground in the Muslim African state would not galvanize al Qaeda recruitment in the region.

"No, because it's the contrary. We - not just the French, but all nations - have to combat terrorism. It's not encouraging terrorism to combat terrorism," Fabius said.

He said donors would meet towards the end of January, probably in Addis Ababa, to finance an African push against al Qaeda-linked fighters.

"We are discussing with the international authorities - the UN, African Union and Europe - and there is a meeting scheduled shortly," Fabius added.

Asked how confident he was about getting troops from Gulf countries for deployment, Fabius said: "Everybody has to commit to oneself in fighting against terrorism. We are pretty confident that the (United Arab) Emirates will go into that direction as well."

He said France and the Gulf states were discussing the latter's possible contribution.

"We shall have a discussion with the authorities in the Emirates. There are different ways of helping, it can be through materials, can be through financing," Fabius said.

(Reporting by Stanley Carvalho and Raissa Kasolowsky, Writing by William Maclean; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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