RSS Feeds

France makes room for UN troops in northern Mali

Wednesday - 6/26/2013, 11:40am  ET

GAO, Mali (AP) -- France's top military chief says troops have begun withdrawing from part of the airport in the northern Malian city of Gao to make room for a United Nations peacekeeping force expected to deploy July 1.

Admiral Edouard Guillaud said during a visit to Gao that African and French troops already deployed in the city would ensure a smooth transition to the peacekeeping force, whose July 1 deployment was approved by the Security Council Tuesday.

Gao was among the cities overtaken by Islamic radicals following a coup in Mali last year. The extremists were driven out when France intervened in January.

The transition to a U.N. force was the top agenda item for a meeting of defense chiefs from the West African regional body ECOWAS that began Wednesday in Accra, Ghana.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.