France plans to remain in Mali: Minister

France has planned to keep a military presence in Mali indefinitely, the country’s defense minister says.

 

France’s Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian made the comment as he was speaking at a US think-tank in Washington DC on Friday.

This comes two days after Le Drian told London that her country would keep 1,000 troops in Mali for an “undetermined period.”

Meanwhile, French media have reported that France will purchase two medium-altitude Reaper drones from the United States, for use in Mali.

France launched a war in Mali on January 11, 2013 under the pretext of halting the advance of rebel fighters in the country.

The French-led war in Mali has caused a serious humanitarian crisis in the northern areas of the country and has displaced thousands of people, who now live in deplorable conditions.

On February 1, Amnesty International said “serious human rights breaches” — including the killing of children — were occurring in the French war in Mali.

France’s Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian reaffirmed in April that the country would keep 1,000 troops in Mali even after the arrival of over 12,000 UN peacekeepers later this year.

Some political analysts believe that Mali’s abandoned natural resources, including gold and uranium reserves, could be one of the reasons behind the French war.

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