US Likely To Play Active Military Role in Mali: Senator

20 Feb

US Likely To Play Active Military Role in Mali: Senator
Local Editor

Senator Christopher Coons, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations subcommittee on Africa says the United States is possibly to play a more active military role in Mali, where a French-led war is raging, after the West African country holds elections.
“There is the hope that there will be additional support from the United States in these and other areas, but… American law prohibits direct assistance to the Malian military following the coup,” the Senator told journalists in the Malian capital, Bamako, on Monday.
“After there is a full restoration of democracy, I would think it is likely that we will renew our direct support for the Malian military,” added the Senator.
The four-member delegation from the US Senate and House of Representatives met with French and African military officials as well as Mali’s interim President Dioncounda Traore in the capital, Bamako.

Washington has been providing intelligence, transport and mid-air refueling to France, which launched its intervention last month.
US military aid to Mali before the March 2012 coup consisted largely of training and equipment such as vehicles, a State Department official said.
But military assistance “would obviously be resumed in a way commensurate with the current needs,” the official added.

“There could be other kinds of assistance that had there not been a coup we could have provided, or requests for things now that we can’t provide.”

Some US lawmakers criticized President Barack Obama’s administration last week for not doing more to help France in Mali. Earlier on Monday, the European Union formally approved a military training mission to aid the French-led war in Mali.
France launched the war on Mali on January 11 under the pretext of halting the advance of fighters in the country. This state of chaos had broke out after Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012.

Source: Global Post, edited by moqawama.org

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