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France to send drones for Mali crisis

French soldiers prepare to launch an unmanned observation drone in 2009.

French soldiers prepare to launch an unmanned observation drone in 2009. // Alfred de Montesquiou/AP

France is gearing up to divert surveillance drones to west Africa, Reuters reports. French officials are seeking to direct international military action to help Mali's government win back the northern part of the country from rebels affiliated with al-Qaeda.

U.S. and French military leaders and diplomats, as well as U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs Johnnie Carson, began two days of talks in Paris on Monday on intelligence-gathering and security in Mali and the rest of the Sahel region, officials told AP.

France plans to move two surveillance drones to western Africa from Afghanistan by the year’s end, according to a French defense official. 

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