US will support France in Mali


The United States has no plans to reduce support for the French-led military campaign against Islamist militants in Mali, US Defence Secretary Mattis said.

Jihadist attacks in Mali tripled in the past three years, according to some civil society groups and militants have spread from the country’s north to the centre and even targeted Bamako – as in 2015, when gunmen killed 20 people in a raid on the Radisson Blu hotel – as well as Mali’s neighbours.
“We have no intention of cutting back one bit on that support,” Mattis said during a press conference with his French counterpart in Paris.
“We will maintain intelligence support, our logistic support and we fully embrace the French mission there as do a number of our other allies,” Mattis said.

France, with 4,500 troops in the region, is dismayed to see militants score military and symbolic victories in Mali and beyond in the Sahel while a regional force struggles to win financing and become fully operational.

Mattis also said the number of US diplomats in Syria doubled as Islamic State militants near a military defeat.