David Cameron offers France further help in Mali campaign

PM sends national security adviser to Paris to discuss what else Britain can do, after providing two transport aircraft

David Cameron has told the French president, François Hollande, that Britain is "keen" to provide further military assistance to France in its operation to drive Islamist militants from Mali.

The prime minister has sent his national security adviser, Sir Kim Darroch, to Paris to discuss what help Britain could provide.

Britain has already provided two C-17 transport aircraft to help move French troops and equipment into Mali and a reconnaissance aircraft, the Sentinel R1, which were used during the Libya campaign.

The Guardian reported last week that a small number of British special forces soldiers were on the ground in Mali advising the French.

The prime minister's spokesman said Cameron made his offer of further help in a telephone call with Hollande on Sunday evening. The spokesman said: "On Mali the French president gave an update on the progress that Mali and French forces have been making. He also thanked the prime minister for the UK transport assistance which the UK has provided.

"The prime minister made clear that we fully support the French government's actions working with the Malian government at their request to deny terrorists a safe haven in Mali. The prime minister went on to explain that we are keen to continue to provide further assistance where we can, depending on what French requirements there may be.

"With regard to that, the UK national security adviser is in Paris today for discussions with French authorities on what further assistance we may be able to provide to them."

The spokesman said Britain's position on having no combat role in Mali remained "absolutely unchanged". But he said No 10 was prepared to provide more help "around logistics, intelligence and surveillance support".

He added: "It is very much discussing about what more we may be able to do, subject to requests from the French government. We very strongly support the French intervention. If there is more we can do we are keen to do what we can to help within the sphere of what the prime minister set out very clearly previously in the House [of Commons]."

Contributor

Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
David Cameron stance on EU 'dangerous', warns France
Prime minister’s attempt to renegotiate terms of Britain’s membership will be blocked, says French foreign minister, if he is seeking special status

Nicholas Watt in London and Angelique Chrisafis in Paris

29, May, 2015 @7:16 AM

Article image
David Cameron puts Algeria and Mali crises ahead of EU speech
Events dictated that prime minister had to drop long-awaited EU briefing to deal with 'existential terrorist threat'

Patrick Wintour, political editor

18, Jan, 2013 @6:55 PM

Article image
Steve Bell on the Mali intervention – cartoon

Major increase in UK commitment to help French and African forces in Mali has been confirmed by Downing Street

Steve Bell

29, Jan, 2013 @11:35 PM

Article image
Britain to send aircraft to Mali to assist French fight against rebels
Fears of terrorist reprisals in Europe rise as more than 120 reported dead after French air strikes on extremists

Peter Beaumont, Cass Jones and Kim Willsher in Paris

13, Jan, 2013 @12:23 AM

Article image
France launches air strikes on Mali
President François Hollande responds to advance south by Islamist rebels by sending armed forces to aid Malian troops

Angelique Chrisafis in Paris, Afua Hirsch, west Africa correspondent and Nick Hopkins

11, Jan, 2013 @7:37 PM

Article image
David Cameron snubbed as Germany and France ignore UK survey on Europe
Boycott of impact assessment 'questionnaire' on EU laws and regulations seen as indication of Tories' isolation abroad

Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent

01, Apr, 2013 @9:00 PM

Article image
In France and Germany's eyes, David Cameron is already yesterday's man | John Palmer
John Palmer: Snubbed by Hollande and Merkel, the PM is seen as having little chance of being in power in 2015 to force a rewrite of Britain's EU status

John Palmer

02, Apr, 2013 @6:19 PM

Article image
UK intervention in Mali treads a familiar - and doomed - path | Simon Jenkins
Simon Jenkins: Does Mali pose an 'existential threat' to the UK? Hardly. Intervention will bring only more trouble

Simon Jenkins

30, Jan, 2013 @1:31 AM

Article image
David Cameron agrees with EU concerns over NSA surveillance
PM says EU summit statement was 'good and sensible', and rails against Edward Snowden and those publishing revelations

Ian Traynor in Brussels

25, Oct, 2013 @6:01 PM

Article image
Letters: The dangers of intervention in Mali
Letters: Talks and diplomacy end modern wars, but it's still the gung-ho, jingoism of politicians that prolongs them

31, Jan, 2013 @8:59 PM