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    US Steps up Mali Involvement

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    The United States will intensify its involvement in the military operation in Mali, where the French-led offensive against radical Islamists entered its third week, the Department of Defense said in a statement on Saturday.

    MOSCOW, January 27 (RIA Novosti) - The United States will intensify its involvement in the military operation in Mali, where the French-led offensive against radical Islamists entered its third week, the Department of Defense said in a statement on Saturday.

    The Pentagon said that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta held a phone conversation with French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian to inform him that “US Africa Command will support the French military by conducting aerial refueling missions as operations in Mali continue.”

    “Secretary Panetta and Minister Le Drian resolved to remain in close contact as aggressive operations against terrorist networks in Mali are ongoing," the statement reads.

    US policy prohibits direct military aid to the incumbent Mali government because it has come to power as a result of a coup, not through an election, CNN said.

    Mali, a French colony until 1960, has been in turmoil since last March’s military coup, which triggered an uprising of the separatist Tuareg tribes that seized control of the country’s south.

     

    Tags:
    U.S. Department of Defense, Pentagon, Jean-Yves Le Drian, Leon Panetta, Mali
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