SA ready to send troops to Mali

2012-09-27 22:32
President Jacob Zuma

President Jacob Zuma

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Johannesburg - South Africa could send troops to Mali's Islamist-held north to support a West African military mission awaiting UN approval, President Jacob Zuma told France 24 on Thursday.

"If there was a UN decision, I don't think... we will have difficulty to join other forces to be part of the forces that will solve that problem," he told the news channel.

"We have provided forces in Africa in some of the instances," he added.

Islamist groups linked to Al-Qaeda seized the northern half of Mali in March this year on the back of a Tuareg rebel offensive fuelled by the collapse of Muammar Gaddafi's regime in Libya.

West Africa's 15-state Ecowas bloc has a 3 300-strong force ready to intervene.

At the ongoing UN General Assembly, Mali's Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra officially asked the Security Council to agree to "an international military force, one which would be composed of all those willing and able to help us reconquer occupied territories in the north of our country".

Former colonial power France advocated urgent action in Mali but UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon urged extreme caution when considering any military option.

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