Video>> Mali's interim president says open to dialogue with rebels
PARIS, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- French President Francois Hollande will leave Paris for Mali on Friday evening for talks with Malian interim President Dioncounda Traore, French newspaper Liberation reported.
During his visit, Hollande will go to Timbuktu, a main town recently freed by French-Mlian armies, said the Liberation, quoting unnamed sources.
The visit comes following army forces recapturing the last major town, Kidal, which had been controlled by Islamist rebels since last June.
France deployed some 4,500 troops in a three-week ground and air offensive to help Malian authorities quash Islamists rebels that seized the country's northern region 10 months ago.
France's operation in Mali costs nearly 70 mln USD: defense minister
PARIS, Jan. 31 (Xinhua) -- French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian estimated his the country's military operation in Mali cost 50 million euros (67.82 million U.S. dollars) so far.
Speaking to France Inter radio, the minister said three weeks of military commitment in the French former colony cost the government so much "mostly related to logistical issues." Full story
China calls for efforts to restore peace, security in Mali
BEIJING, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- China on Friday called for the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2085 to restore peace and security in Mali, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei.
Hong made the remarks when asked about China's stance on the deployment of an international peacekeeping force to Mali. Full story