French president in Mali visit

There was a hero's welcome for France's President Hollande when he arrived in Timbuktu. He was visiting the desert city in Mali, after its recapture from Islamic extremists.

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Labour: 'It is right' Britain contributes to Mali action

It is right that the international community takes action in Mali and that Britain makes a contribution.

Mali cannot become an incubator for terrorism, which would destabilise the region and threaten British interests.

There have been early military successes, but the Islamist militants have abandoned the cities and can melt across borders.

We will wait for a formal announcement, but the Government must be clear with the country and Parliament about the scale and scope of UK involvement in the mission.

– Shadow Defence Secretary, Jim Murphy


Malians cheer troops' arrival in Timbuktu

Residents of Timbuktu cheered and waved flags as French and Malian troops entered the town in northern Mali on Monday.

One man held a flag on which was written 'Thank you Hollande', a gesture to France's President Francois Hollande who ordered a military intervention in Mali to prevent rebels advancing on the capital Bamako in the south.

International donors' conference on Mali opens

An international donors conference for Mali hosted by the African Union is taking place in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, to discuss funding for the intervention in the country.

Deputy national security director Hugh Powell is also expected to discuss the potential UK contribution to support a West African intervention force in Mali.

The international donors conference in Addis Ababa. Credit: Reuters

Meanwhile, in Brussels, officials will discuss details of the planned EU training mission to build up the Malian army, which could include up to 40 British personnel.

Former head of Army's warning over Mali

Ministers meeting in Brussels today are expected to agree to deploy British troops to help train the Malian army.

An EU training mission is likely to see "tens" of troops sent in a "support" role to the North African state.

Former head of the Army General Sir Mike Jackson backed the Government's position but warned that nations involved may face a "protracted guerrilla warfare".

It doesn't really surprise me that the British Government feels it needs to be seen to be helping.

We cannot let states fail because we know from recent history that failed states just lead to really difficult circumstances, instability.

What Mali and France, and indeed other countries who may choose to assist may face, of course, is a protracted guerrilla warfare taking place away from the conurbations.

– Sir Mike Jackson, speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme
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