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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MP fears UK will get drawn into Mali conflict

Conservative MP John Baron has expressed his fears that the UK could be drawn into an "ever deepening conflict" in Mali and the wider region.

He said Afghanistan illustrated the danger of being "sucked into larger deployments, the mission itself changed".

He asked the Defence Secretary Philip Hammond to clarify the exact role of British troops.

Conservative MP John Baron had requested an Urgent Question on Mali Credit: HoC

In response, Mr Hammond said: "The UK has a clear interest in the stability of Mali and ensuring that its territory does not become an ungoverned space.".

"The role of British troops is clearly not a combat role and will not extend as we envisage at the moment to a force protection role".

"We are looking for force protection arrangements to be put in place probably by the French".

No forces to be deployed without 'adequate protection'

The Defence Secretary Philip Hammond has said that the role of British troops in the Mali effort will not be a combat one and neither will it involve force protection in Mali.

He added:

We will not allow any UK personnel to be deployed on any mission until we are satisfied that adequate force protection arrangements are in place.

– Defence Secretary Philip Hammond

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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
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