UK ups offer for Mali, African anti-Islamist effort

LONDON Tue Jan 29, 2013 9:07am EST

1 of 2. French troops aboard armoured vehicles are greeted by the population as they arrive in Timbuktu in this January 28, 2013 picture provided by the French Military audiovisual service (ECPAD) January 29, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Arnaud Roine/ECPAD/Handout

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain on Tuesday boosted its offer of aid to help France fight Islamist rebels in Mali, and pledged troops to help other African governments in the region counter a rising tide of Islamist radicalism.

Up to 240 British troops could be deployed as part of two missions to train African troops, 40 in Mali as part of a European Union mission, and a further 200 in anglophone West African countries, Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman said.

At least 70 more British personnel could be involved in logistical and support missions. "It is an African operation in support of the Malian government and we think that the right way to do this is for regionally-led forces to take the lead," the spokesman said, adding Britons would take no combat role.

The increased logistical support for France includes a ferry to transport troops and equipment to Africa, and allowing France and its allies to use Britain for air-to-air refueling.

Britain has also offered to set up a "Combined Joint Logistics Headquarters" in Mali, but France believes such a facility is not needed, Cameron's spokesman said, adding it would be kept under review.

A decision on whether to send up to 200 British soldiers on West African training missions is expected to be taken soon after African Union-led discussions in Addis Ababa, while talks are taking place in Brussels over troops for Mali.

(Reporting by Mohammed Abbas; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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Comments (3)
sylvan wrote:
Now that the hard part is done, and France’s valiant efforts look to be very successful in routing AQIM, Murdoch’s poodle Dave, wants to rush to the head of the line to receive attention and gratitude. He previously had authorized a whopping two planes, one of which immediately broke down in the dessert. Now he send a few guys over there as well, since it looks like a winner. He is the epitome of a overcooked limp wuss, and world-class opportunist.

Jan 29, 2013 8:03am EST  --  Report as abuse
WiseOldElf wrote:
This is lame! Now that the French have got the Islamists on the run, everybody wants to help.

Jan 29, 2013 10:26am EST  --  Report as abuse
JapanViewer wrote:
Bull. Any and all help is welcome. Joining the effort now is still in its beginning stages, as the real struggle in routing and stemming the Islamists has only begun. Mali and all of Africa need far more than the French right now and anyone who steps up is to be commended.

Jan 29, 2013 10:47am EST  --  Report as abuse
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