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USA agrees to refuel French planes in Mali

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta in London on January 19. Credit: Press Association

The USA will strengthen its role in providing logistic and strategic support to the French-led military intervention in Mali by conducting aerial refueling missions.

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta spoke to his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian to discuss the American military's role in the ongoing conflict against Islamist rebels occupying the north of the country. The Pentagon press office said:

"Following up on President Obama's call with French President Hollande yesterday, Secretary Panetta today spoke to French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian to discuss U.S. support for the international community's efforts to deny terrorists a safe haven in Mali."

"Secretary Panetta informed Minister Le Drian that U.S. Africa Command will support the French military by conducting aerial refueling missions as operations in Mali continue."