West African nations could begin deploying troops in Mali within 48 hours, according to the head of the beleaguered country’s army.
As military chiefs from the region met in Bamako to discuss the operation, Ibrahim Dembele said the situation would have become catastrophic without French intervention.
One source said Niger and Nigeria were ready to send in troops overland.
The European Union has been looking to increase its involvement. Several countries have pledged logistical support.
So has the US, whose Defence Secretary Leon Panetta was in Rome. His Italian counterpart and host, Giampaolo Di Paola, said both countries backed the French intervention to stop the jihadist advance. The European plan would become clearer, he added, after EU foreign ministers meet on Thursday.
Mali’s foreign minister is due to be present in Brussels. The meeting is expected to focus on developing a training programme for Malian troops, already voted through last month. Around ten EU countries have promised to send personnel and equipment.
A Belgian airforce transport plane left Brussels on Wednesday carrying 35 soldiers en route for Mali. Another plane and two helicopters are also to be involved. The Belgian defence minister said help would be restricted to medical assistance and supplies.
- 1Italian actor Bud Spencer dies at 86
- 2What will Brexit mean for EU migrants to the UK and British expats?
- 3Lionel Messi retires from international football
- 4Paris and Berlin agree on a strategy following Britain’s shock exit vote
- 5Iceland’s new President Gudni Johannesson off to France for the football
Latest world news
UK: Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn loses confidence vote in wake of Brexit vote
‘Scotland’s voice will be heard’ – Sturgeon vows to fight to maintain EU ties
Feisty Farage tells MEPs ‘You’re not laughing now’
EU leaders gather for the post-Brexit summit in Brussels
Germany says UK will not be allowed to ‘cherry pick’ over Brexit deal
Wires > News
- 18:27 CET Iraqis from Falluja in ‘desperate’ need of aid – charity
- 18:13 CET Michelle Obama, daughters and mom promote girls’ education in…
- 18:09 CET Sweden, Ethiopia, Bolivia elected to U.N. council for 2017-18
- 17:22 CET EU leaders tell Britain to exit swiftly, market rout halts
- 17:17 CET Cracks show inside Islamic State’s shrinking caliphate
- 17:16 CET Poland risks Moscow’s ire with plan to relocate war memorials
- 16:56 CET Kremlin dents Turkish hopes for quick restoration of ties
- 16:54 CET IS Syria stronghold Raqqa next after Manbij operation is completed…