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More international involvement in Mali conflict

More international involvement in Mali conflict
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The conflict in Mali may draw in more outside help.

Preparations to send a training and advisory European mission are being sped up. Between 400 and 500 officers will bolster Malian troops.

Washington is considering supporting French troops already there with intelligence help and surveillance drones.

Stressing the seriousness of the west African country’s situation, during a televised address the president Diaoucunda Traorè said: “The government of Mali has taken the decision to declare a State of Emergency over the entire national territory. Every Malian, men and women, must consider themselves a soldier of the nation and act like one.”

French soldiers are already in Mali, helping the government fight an armed rebellion, which is sweeping the country.

Paris has also asked the UN to accelerate its plan to send in 3,000 African troops.

“Under the assistance framework set out in UN Resolution 2085, what is asked of all countries who want to help Mali is for each to see what they can concretely bring and see how that can be integrated into the operation,” said Operations Advisor to Malian Defence Ministry Colonel Abderamane Baby.

Mali descended into chaos last March when soldiers toppled the president, leaving a power vacuum that enabled Tuareg rebels to seize two-thirds of the country.

A UN report described Mali as being gripped by an aid disaster.

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