UK offers more military aid to France for Mali operations
London: Britain has offered more assistance to France in the ongoing military operations against Islamist rebels in Mali. However, Prime Minister David Cameron's spokesman made it clear that the UK will not take a combat role.
As per reports, Cameron had a telephonic conversation with French President Francois Hollande late on Sunday and discussed the conflict in the West African state. It may be noted that French and Malian government forces are fighting with Islamist insurgents in the country.
The military operation already includes two C-17 military transport aircraft and a Sentinel surveillance plane provided by Britain.
"We are keen to continue to provide further assistance where we can and depending on what French requirements there may be," Cameron's spokesman said.
"The position on 'no combat role' is absolutely unchanged."
However, the Guardian newspaper quoted a Downing Street official as saying that Britain would be ready to send a "sizeable amount" of troops to Mali.
Britain's national security adviser, Kim Darroch, was in Paris on Monday to assess French military needs, but any British assistance will be restricted to logistics, transport, intelligence and surveillance, Cameron's spokesman said, reported a leading news agency.
Britain is also sending tens of troops to take part in a European Union mission to train Malian forces.
(With Agency inputs)