Spain provides plane, training in Mali: minister

18th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

Spain will send military training personnel and a transport plane for African troops fighting Islamist rebels in Mali but is not planning to join in combat operations, Madrid said Friday.

"Between 40 and 50 Spanish military training personnel" will go to Mali to train troops of a force being provided by countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Spanish Defence Minister Pedro Morenes told a news conference.

Spain has also "authorised the provision of a Hercules C-130 plane as a strategic personnel carrier to bring military resources from those countries to Mali," he said, speaking after a cabinet meeting.

He said that "the principal focus of the operation... is the training of troops, not Spanish participation in combat" in the west African country, where Malian and French forces are battling Islamist rebels who have pushed south into government-held territory.

Spain had earlier said it would allow French planes operating in the Mali conflict to use Spanish air bases if needed.

© 2013 AFP

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