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UK ready to help in Mali

UK ready to help in Mali
European powers are acting to prevent Mali becoming a “terrorist haven”, a Foreign Office minister has told MPs.

In statement to the Commons, Mark Simmonds said the situation in Mali was of “serious concern” to Britain.

“The UK has been concerned with the potential for terrorist groups to establish a safe haven in Mali, which if left unchecked could pose a threat to Europe and the UK, as well as our interests in the region," he said.

"It would not be in our interests to allow a terrorist haven to develop in Mali."

The Government agreed to send two C-17 transport aircraft as France launched attacks on Islamist rebels in the north of the African country, with David Cameron explaining he wanted to be “first out of the blocks” to back the intervention.

However one of the jets was grounded by a technical fault this morning, it has emerged.

There are also reports that the UK will assist the French through intelligence gathering and military training, with drones and spy planes on standby for deployment.

Defence minister Andrew Robathan warned today the human rights situation in Mali could deteriorate into “worse abuses than anything that has been seen before”.

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Lord West: PM is right not to get troops involved in Mali

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Stephen O'Brien: Malian conflict has wider implications

14/01/2013 on Boulton & Co, Sky News

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Minister warns on Malian human rights abuses

14/01/2013