France seeks to 'speed up' African force deployment in Mali

18th January 2013, Comments 0 comments

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he would attend an emergency summit of the west African bloc ECOWAS on Saturday to help accelerate the deployment of an African military force in Mali.

"I will go there with a military attache and we will see with our African friends how we can speed up the deployment of MISMA (the International Mission for Mali Assistance)," he told AFP.

The summit in the city of Abidjan in Ivory Coast will take place with ECOWAS countries promising to send more than 3,000 soldiers to join French forces backing the Malian army against Islamist rebels.

France said it already has 1,400 soldiers in Mali and that its contingent would gradually be increased to 2,500 troops.

© 2013 AFP

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