Germany mulls medical, logistic aid for France in Mali

14th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

Germany said Monday it was considering ways to help France in its mission in Mali such as providing logistical, medical or humanitarian aid.

"Such support could come in the field of logistics, medical support or humanitarian support," a foreign ministry spokesman told a regular government news conference.

"For the federal government and for Foreign Minister (Guido) Westerwelle it is clear that Germany will not leave France alone in this difficult situation," spokesman Andreas Peschke added.

Westerwelle and Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere will now "quickly" consider "how Germany can offer concrete support, other than military action", he said.

Discussions will now take place with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Paris to see how Germany can best come to France's assistance, he added.

But a German military deployment in Mali "is excluded, that is the position of the federal government," Merkel's spokesman Steffen Seibert told the same media conference.

"The German government, the French government are in very close coordination based on partnership," he said.

"The government has been informed about everything France has done," he added declining to give details.

France's mission in Mali is "correct in the view of the federal government," Peschke added. "It is a difficult but also important mission that we support politically."

Peschke also expressed condolences on behalf of Germany for French military personnel already killed during the mission, which began alongside the Malian army on Friday.

Westerwelle is also in favour of a special meeting of EU foreign ministers to discuss the crisis in Mali, his spokesman told reporters.

The crisis is expected to feature in talks in Berlin on Wednesday between Merkel and Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, who is the current head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

France's intervention has been backed by the European Union and the United States, while Britain is providing logistical support in the form of transport planes.

Westerwelle said in a statement on Sunday that Berlin would decide whether to participate in an EU mission to train Malian troops but only when the parameters of such a deployment had been established.

A German interior ministry spokesman said Germany could be an "interesting target" for Islamic terrorists over events in Mali but that its security situation had not changed as a result of France's action in Mali.

Berlin is in talks with French security authorities, he added.

© 2013 AFP

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