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Mali and France sign new defence agreement

By on July 17, 2014

France and Mali signed a new defence pact on Wednesday. That agreement will let Paris maintain its prominent role in a former colony whose desert north was occupied by al Qaeda-linked rebels until they were defeated by French troops last year.

The new pact, a defence cooperation treaty that replaces a 1985 agreement, outlines the framework for French intelligence sharing, training and equipping of Malian troops.

French troops still tracking down Islamists in Mali are operating under a separate operational agreement signed last year, but the new deal ensures long-term military ties between the two nations.

Most of the Islamists fled the superior French firepower and the French deployment in Mali has since been reduced to about 1,700.

The defence agreement comes on the eve of a visit to the region by French President Francois Hollande, who will travel to Ivory Coast, Niger and Chad.

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