U.S. AFRICOM Intensifies Role In Mali War
Russian Information Agency Novosti
January 27, 2013
US Steps up Mali Involvement
MOSCOW: The United States will intensify its involvement in the military operation in Mali, where the French-led offensive…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…Tuareg tribes that seized control of the country’s south.
Voice of Russia
January 26, 2013
US agrees to refuel French warplanes on Mali mission
The Pentagon has agreed to refuel French warplanes that are currently conducting operations…in Mali, the US military said in a statement on Saturday.
President Barack Obama’s administration had previously been asked by France for refueling assistance and outgoing US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has now approved the request, Pentagon spokesman George Little said.
Obama held telephone talks with French President Francois Hollande on Friday in which the two leaders discussed global security concerns and vowed to work together to tackle extremism across North Africa.
Following on from Obama and Hollande’s discussion, Panetta spoke to French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian to discuss US military support “to deny terrorists a safe haven in Mali”.
Voice of Russia, AFP