- French Timeframe for Mali Unrealistic – Expert
- Russian UN Envoy Says No Claims to French Actions in Mali
- Mali Crackdown Should be UN/Africa-Led – Kremlin Envoy
- French Troops Intervene in Mali Crisis
- UN Security Council Calls to Speed Up Mali Force Deployment
MOSCOW, January 20 (RIA Novosti) – French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Moscow has offered its help to Paris in transporting French troops and supplies to crisis-hit Mali.
"The Russians have proposed to provide means of transport for the French," Fabius said in the interview with Europe 1 radio on Sunday.
The Russian Foreign Ministry has not made official comment on the statement, which was made following Saturday’s phone conversation between Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his French counterpart.
During the conversation, the sides voiced support for the UN Security Council’s resolution authorizing the deployment of an African-led international Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA).
Last week France launched the deployment of 2,500 troops to Mali to help the country's army contain a sudden advance of Islamists from the Tuareg heartland in the north.
The French involvement was endorsed by the ECOWAS, a bloc comprising 15 West African countries, including Mali. The bloc called on the UN Security Council on Saturday to fast track the release of logistics and financial packages to support Africa-led Mission in Mali.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.