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Mali – EU meeting Thursday – Terzi: Italy ready to offer logistical support to operation

“Italy is ready to offer logistical support to the operation” in Mali. The announcement was made by Minister for Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi in a report to the Senate today on international missions. The minister explained that the military operation launched by France with another group of countries against the rebels “is in line with UN Security Council resolution 2085 of 20 December last” that followed Malian President Traoré’s plea for help.

Three-pronged approach

The Italian government’s approach to the Mali crisis is a three-pronged one that includes, first of all, “reiterating Italy’s political support for efforts within the context of the UN resolution” and, in accordance with “what is being done at European level”, offer “logistical support for the operation, which “we have discussed with Monti and Minister Di Paola”. Logistical support will be air-based, and not land-based, and include links with the French forces, Di Paola went on to explain.

Extraordinary meeting in Brussels

The Mali crisis will be the central focus of an extraordinary meeting of foreign ministers in Brussels tomorrow at which, Minister Terzi announced, they plan to reiterate “the absolute urgency of deploying 250 trainers (EUTM) to Bamako to contribute to the formation and training of a Malian army” that has thus far “not been able to meet the challenge”, with the additional aggravation of the political uncertainty that has followed a coup d’état in that country. According to Terzi “it is important to seek a rapid solution to this crisis in order to avoid the real threat of terrorist forces endemic to the territory”.

European training mission launched

EU High Representative Catherine Ashton announced that Mali’s foreign minister would also attend tomorrow’s meeting in Brussels, assuring that the European mission to train the Malian army (EUTM) would be launched “as soon as possible” and would help to “retrain and reinforce the country’s forces”. The EU “supports President Traoré and his government’s efforts to put Mali on a democratic path”, Ashton added, announcing that she would be appointing a European special representative for the Sahel.

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