France says Africans need to take lead in Mali as conflict enters 2nd week

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Associated Press

Posted on January 19, 2013 at 11:33 AM

Updated Saturday, Jan 19 at 11:33 AM

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) — France's foreign minister says Mali's neighbors in West Africa "need to take the lead" in the military intervention to oust extremists from northern Mali.

However, at a summit in Ivory Coast, the French minister acknowledged it could be weeks before neighbors are able to do so.

Neighboring countries are expected to contribute around 3,000 troops to the operation. Soldiers from Togo and Nigeria have arrived to help the French, but concerns about the mission have delayed other neighbors from sending their promised troops. Funding for the mission is also an issue.

Ivory Coast's president says Mali's neighbors can't allow northern Mali to become a "no-man's land" and must work together to eradicate terrorism in the region. President Alassane Ouattara (ah-lah-SAHN' WAH'-tah-rah) says: "No other nation in the world, no other region in the world will be spared" if large swaths of the Sahel fall to the extremists.

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133-c-16-(Krista Larson, AP correspondent)-"forces to Mali"-AP correspondent Krista Larson reports neighboring African countries are expected to send around 3,000 troops to Mali. (19 Jan 2013)

<<CUT *133 (01/19/13)>> 00:16 "forces to Mali"

134-c-16-(Krista Larson, AP correspondent)-"African regional block"-AP Correspondent Krista Larson reports while concerns about the mission in Mali have delayed neighbors from sending promised troops, some countries are ready to support France right away. (19 Jan 2013)

<<CUT *134 (01/19/13)>> 00:16 "African regional block"

132-c-17-(Krista Larson, AP correspondent)-"the African force"-AP correspondent Krista Larson reports West African leaders have gathered for a Mali summit. (19 Jan 2013)

<<CUT *132 (01/19/13)>> 00:17 "the African force"

APPHOTO MLI110: A French soldier mans a machine gun as French troops pass through San in central Mali en route to Sevare, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. French forces encircled a key Malian town on Friday to stop radical Islamists from striking closer to the capital, a French official said. The move to surround Diabaly came as French and Malian authorities said they had retaken Konna, the central city whose capture prompted the French military intervention last week.(AP Photo/Harouna Traore) (18 Jan 2013)

<<APPHOTO MLI110 (01/18/13)>>

APPHOTO MLI109: A French soldier stands next to a mounted gun as French troops pass through San in central Mali en route to Sevare, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. French forces encircled a key Malian town on Friday to stop radical Islamists from striking closer to the capital, a French official said. The move to surround Diabaly came as French and Malian authorities said they had retaken Konna, the central city whose capture prompted the French military intervention last week.(AP Photo/Harouna Traore) (18 Jan 2013)

<<APPHOTO MLI109 (01/18/13)>>

APPHOTO MLI105: Residents of San in central Mali, some holding a French flag, gather around a convoy of French troops as they pass through San en route to Sevare, Mali, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. French forces encircled a key Malian town on Friday to stop radical Islamists from striking closer to the capital, a French official said. The move to surround Diabaly came as French and Malian authorities said they had retaken Konna, the central city whose capture prompted the French military intervention last week.(AP Photo/Harouna Traore) (18 Jan 2013)

<<APPHOTO MLI105 (01/18/13)>>

APPHOTO MLI103: Residents of San in central Mali clap as French troops pass through en route to Sevare, Mali, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. French forces encircled a key Malian town on Friday to stop radical Islamists from striking closer to the capital, a French official said. The move to surround Diabaly came as French and Malian authorities said they had retaken Konna, the central city whose capture prompted the French military intervention last week.(AP Photo/Harouna Traore) (18 Jan 2013)

<<APPHOTO MLI103 (01/18/13)>>

APPHOTO MLI105: A resident of San in central Mali talks with a French soldier in his vehicle as French troops pass through en route to Sevare, Mali, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. French forces encircled a key Malian town on Friday to stop radical Islamists from striking closer to the capital, a French official said. The move to surround Diabaly came as French and Malian authorities said they had retaken Konna, the central city whose capture prompted the French military intervention last week.(AP Photo/Harouna Traore) (18 Jan 2013)

<<APPHOTO MLI105 (01/18/13)>>

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