France to quash terrorists in Mali: FM
Updated: 2012-10-22 13:01
PARIS - Al-Qaeda-linked threats to kill national hostages will not dissuade France's determination to crack down on terrorism and help ousting insurgents from Malian northern region, French foreign minister said Sunday.
Speaking to the local media Europe 1, Le Parisien and iTele, Laurent Fabius stressed that "when the international community said terrorism in Mali must be stopped, it must be done".
"The United Nations and Europe have given permission to Malian troops (to launch military operation against the insurgents) and it can start now," he said.
Fabius reiterated Paris logistically support the military intervention in the West African country, stressing that French troops will not be deployed on the ground.
Urging rapid deployment of an African-led force to rout the terrorists, France could risk the death of French hostages kidnapped in the Sahel region after Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) warned "to open the doors of hell" for French citizens.
"We work every day to free the hostages. We have contacts with families," the minister said without elaborating on possible payment of ransom to free hostages.
Seven workers for French firm Areva were taken hostage in northern Niger in 2010, and three have since been released. Two other French were kidnapped in Mali in November.