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French president to visit Mali Saturday: Elysee Palace

English.news.cn   2013-02-01 19:28:13            
Shinzo
 • French President Francois Hollande will visit Mali on Saturday.
 • The visit comes following army forces recapturing the last major town, Kidal.
 • The French army launched the "Operation Serval" in Mali on Jan. 11.
 

Video>> Mali's interim president says open to dialogue with rebels

PARIS, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- French President Francois Hollande will visit Mali on Saturday, the French Presidency said in a statement.

The French head of state will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius, Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian and Minister of Development Pascal Canfin, according to the Elysee Palace.

French newspaper Liberation reported earlier that the French president will leave for the African country on Friday evening to meet with Malian interim President Dioncounda Traore.

Hollande will also pay a visit 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.

The French army launched the "Operation Serval" in Mali on Jan. 11 to prevent the progression of jihadist groups, who have controlled the North since last year, from moving to the south of the West African country.

France has so far deployed some 4,500 troops in the three-week ground and air offensive to help Malain authorities to quash Islamists rebels.

Related:

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


Editor: Tang Danlu
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