'France does not intend to remain in Mali' - Hollande
Saturday, February 02, 2013 - 01:06
Feb. 2- French President Francois Hollande offers assurances that France will help restore government control in Mali, but will not remain in the country. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
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A hero's welcome as French President Francois Hollande arrives in Timbuktu.
Days after French and Malaian forces reclamied the city, Hollande is hailed as a libarator.
His one day trip also took him to the capital city Bamako, where he offered his thanks as well as his assurances.
(SOUNDBITE) (French) FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, FRENCH PRESIDENT, SAYING:
"But I confess out of respect -- France does not intend to remain here in Mali, because it is Malians themselves who will ensure the country's independence and sovereignty. This is how I see the relationship between France and Africa, respect, democracy and transparency. "
On January 11th France launched an offensive to clear northern Mali of Islamist jihadists. It's a move backed by the US and the EU.
While they are providing training and support, they have ruled out sending their own ground troops.
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