27/01/2013 | 09:51 AM | World News
WASHINGTON, Jan 27 (KUNA) -- US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called late on Saturday his French counterpart Jean-Yves Le Drian to discuss Washington's support for French intervention in Mali.
"Following up on President Obama's call with French President Hollande yesterday, Secretary Panetta today spoke to French Minister of Defense Jean-Yves Le Drian to discuss US support for the international community's efforts to deny terrorists a safe haven in Mali", said Pentagon Press Secretary George Little in a statement.
"Secretary Panetta commended Minister Le Drian for France's strong leadership in this effort and noted recent operational successes that have helped turn back terrorist advances. Minister Le Drian thanked the United States for ongoing information sharing, planning, and strategic lift that so far has delivered hundreds of troops and hundreds of tons of supplies", he added.
Little noted that Panetta informed Minister Le Drian that US Africa Command will support the French military by conducting aerial refueling missions as operations in Mali continue".
"The leaders also discussed plans for the United States to transport troops from African nations, including Chad and Togo, to support the international effort in Mali. Secretary Panetta and Minister Le Drian resolved to remain in close contact as aggressive operations against terrorist networks in Mali are ongoing", he concluded. (end) jm.asa KUNA 270951 Jan 13NNNN