France seeks to extend Mali stay until rebels defeat

France seeks to extend Mali stay until rebels defeat
# 15 January 2013 20:54 (UTC +04:00)

Baku-APA. The French president says his country’s military forces will not leave Mali before defeating the rebel forces, APA reports quoting Press TV.

Francois Hollande made an announcement on Tuesday, stating that the objective of France’s military intervention in Mali is to set up a solid political system in the country.

Earlier in the day, France announced that it would triple its soldiers who are currently fighting the rebels in Mali.

On Tuesday, a source close to French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said “There will be a gradual [French military] buildup [in Mali] to a figure of 2,500.”

France’s plan to increase troops in Mali comes after Hollande said there were currently 750 soldiers in the West African country.

Meanwhile, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has called for a ceasefire in Mali, describing the recent military intervention in the country as “premature.”

Also on Tuesday, the United Nations said French military intervention in Mali would deteriorate the refugee crisis in the country.

Adrian Edwards, the spokesman of the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, said that some 1,230 Malian refugees have already fled to the neighboring states including Niger, Burkina Faso and Mauritania during the past week.

France initiated military action in Mali on January 12 to allegedly halt the advance of the rebels, who control the northern parts of the West African nation.

Chaos broke out in the African country after Malian President Amadou Toumani Toure was toppled in a military coup on March 22, 2012. The coup leaders said they mounted the coup in response to the government's inability to contain the Tuareg rebellion in the north of the country, which had been going on for two months.