France: Military operation in Mali will last a few weeks
Newscast Media PARIS—As neighboring countries finalize arrangements to send troops into Mali, continued French air strikes have put the Islamist rebels on the defensive. French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Monday said the situation in Mali is “evolving favorably,” and the Islamist rebels were blocked in eastern Mali but “extremely armed men made the west a difficult point for French forces.”
“Our goal is to go back to implementation of Resolution 2085 as quickly as possible so that the African forces and the Malian forces take care of the problem and that there is a political agreement,” France’s UN Ambassador Gerard Araud told reporters on Monday as the UN Security Council began talks on the conflict.
Resolution 2085, adopted by the 15-member Security Council in December,authorizes an African-led international military intervention to support Mali in its fight against armed rebels that took control of the country’s north following a coup in March.
During a visit to the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande said French forces had kept up air strikes against rebels in Mali and pledged to send more troops to the conflict-torn country.
“We will continue the deployment of forces on the ground and in the air. We have 750 troops deployed at the moment and that will keep increasing so that as quickly as possible we can hand over responsibility to the Africans,” the president said.