Britain 'keen' to give France more help in Mali

28th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

Prime Minister David Cameron has told President Francois Hollande that Britain is "keen" to give France further help in its fight against Islamist militants in Mali, a British spokesman said Monday.

Hollande updated Cameron on the military operation in Mali in a telephone call on Sunday, and Britain's national security advisor Kim Darroch was in Paris for talks with French officials on Monday.

Cameron's spokesman told reporters: "The prime minister made clear that we fully support the French government's actions, working with the Malian government at their request, to deny terrorists a safe haven in Mali.

"The prime minister went on to explain that we are keen to continue to provide further assistance where we can, and depending on what French requirements there may be," he said.

Britain has already sent a Sentinel surveillance plane and two C-17 transport planes to assist French forces in the west African country.

"The UK national security advisor is in Paris today for discussions with French authorities on what further assistance we may be able to provide to them with regard to Mali," the spokesman said.

He stressed that there had been no change in Cameron's position that British troops will not be sent into a combat role in Mali.

On Monday, French-led troops surrounded the desert city of Timbuktu after seizing the airport in a lightning advance.

© 2013 AFP

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