France rules out use of air power in Mali
13 November 2012, 16:56
Paris - The French defence minister says neither France nor Europe will intervene militarily to oust al-Qaeda and its allies from northern Mali - not even through the use of air power.
Jean-Yves Le Drian provided details on France's longstanding promise not to send ground forces in support of a planned international effort led by African troops to recover the area for Mali's shaky government, adding that there would be no attacks from the air either.
Le Drian told the European American Press Club in Paris that France could provide training or intelligence for African forces.
France fears that the vast desert area under control of al-Qaeda's north African branch and its allies could become a sanctuary for terrorists to possibly plot attacks in Europe or seize Western hostages.