Jan. 12 - France announces its armed forces are aiding Mali in halting rebel advances it says are threatening regional stability. Lindsey Parietti reports.
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Militant advances in Mali are prompting an armed response from France, as the country launches air strikes to help the West African nation.
French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said Saturday that the rebels are threatening the entire region.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) FRENCH PRIME MINISTER JEAN-MARC AYRAULT SAYING:
"France has begun a military intervention along with the Malian army and African forces to stop the determined advance of terrorist forces which were threatening the integrity of Mali but which are also threatening the security and stability of a whole region. France wants to contribute in this way to stopping the terrorist threat, which is not only threatening Mali but also France and Europe."
The announcement comes after Mali's interim president declared a state of emergency and requested air support from France.
French President Francois Hollande said resolutions by the U.N. Security Council, which in December sanctioned an African-led military intervention in Mali, meant France was acting in accordance with international law.
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