United Kingdom assistance for French Mali operation

Ministry of Defence said:
Speaking on the BBC News channel, Foreign Office Minister Mark Simmonds discussed the UK Government’s offer of logistical support to the French Government:
“The UK has offered, at French request, two transport aircraft. As the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have confirmed, there’ll be no British forces involved in a combat role at all. We’ve been concerned alongside the international community about the situation in northern Mali for some time. The northern part of Mali is controlled by al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations and that poses a potential direct threat to the UK and regional stability.
“We’re working with the United Nations where there have been two resolutions and the African Union and ECOWAS, which is the African regional organisation, to provide both an immediate and a long term sustainable solution to the challenge that is faced in Mali.”
Earlier on Sky’s Murnaghan programme, Mark Simmonds underlined the importance of regional action on Mali. He said it was right that ECOWAS, the western African organisation, would ultimately be at the forefront of action. ECOWAS will form part of the future deployment of a longer-term African led intervention force authorised by UN Security Council Resolutions last year.
Mark Simmonds also noted that there were ongoing discussions on providing training for the Malian Army through a European Union training mission. This was most recently discussed at the European Council in December. He said that the UK would continue to work with international partners to encourage progress on an inclusive political process in Mali which would be important for long-term stability.
[h=2]Further information[/h] Read the Foreign Office travel advice for Mali
Statement on UK assistance to the French Mali operation
United Nations Security Council Press Statement on Mali, 10 January 2013
United Nations Security Council Resolution 2085 on Mali, 20 December 2012
United Nations Security Council Resolution 2071 on Mali and the Sahel, 10 October 2012



Book Reviewer
Oh dear....

UK troops 'must not get bogged down' on Mali training mission

Nicholas Cecil and Peter Allen

15 January 2013

Ministers are to pave the way for British troops to train the army in Mali amid warnings that they should not become “bogged down” in a long conflict.

Europe minister David Lidington will ask MPs who are scrutinising the proposed mission to back the Government’s decision to give it the green light.

At the same time, he will also push ahead with plans to extend an EU training mission, involving British officers in war-torn Somalia, to 2015.

But the European Scrutiny Committee is demanding reassurances that the Mali deployment will not “morph into something long-term and become bogged down ... or lead on to a peace-making mission”.

The EU is drawing up plans to send a 150-strong training team to Mali, with a security force of 250 to protect it. Britain is set to deploy a small number of trainers as well as security personnel. The National Security Council, chaired by David Cameron, was discussing the Mali crisis this afternoon. Islamic extremists linked to al Qaeda are pushing south from northern strongholds against a weak Malian army.

France is to send thousands more troops to boost its 750-strong force in the north-west African country to repel the militants’ advances towards the capital Bamako.

A convoy of 40 to 50 tanks and armed trucks carrying French troops crossed into Mali from Ivory Coast, where they were stationed, as France prepares for a possible land assault. Despite France’s five-day-old aerial assault, the Islamist fighters have succeeded in gaining ground, most notably taking the garrison town of Diabaly yesterday, which puts them roughly 250 miles from Bamako.

Residents in Diabaly said they were cowering inside their homes after an all-night bombing campaign by French special forces.

Africa minister Mark Simmonds told the Commons how the extremists were raping women and abducting children to force them to join militias. “Stoning, amputations and other participation in extreme Sharia law are also taking place,” he added.

A British C-17 transport plane landed early this morning in Bamako carrying French military vehicles and other kit, with a second RAF aircraft, which had suffered a technical fault, expected to head to Mali today.

French president François Hollande said that overnight strikes by fighter jets had “achieved their goals” and that his troops on the ground would increase to around 2,500 over the next few weeks. Mr Cameron has ruled out sending British combat troops to Mali.

Both Britain and France have warned that the country could become a haven for terrorists unless action is taken against the extremists. The UN Security Council last night unanimously backed the West’s intervention. Nigeria is to supply 600 troops, as part of an African-led force of around 3,000.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “As the Government has made clear, there are certainly no plans for any UK combat role forces on the ground in Mali. As part of a process pre-dating the current French military action, we continue to scope the possibility of the UK contributing to a future EU training mission in Mali.”

Okay.....so...which is it ?


Book Reviewer
Welcome to your new OSM. I give it 10 years (and several UOR's).
Another case of US trained militias turning bad! At least there is a healthy concensus (UN, AU, ECOWAS, EU, FR, UK, US, CAN) about taking action. Beats the grind of Helmand...now where did I put those junglies?



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