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French PM insists troops not bogged down in Mali

Published on Jan 25, 2013 11:55 PM

BUENOS AIRES (AFP) - French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault insisted on Friday that the French-led operation against Islamists in Mali was making clear progress and in no danger of getting bogged down.

"There's no risk of a stalemate. France has met and respected the goals it set itself," Ayrault told reporters during a visit to Buenos Aires.

France has deployed troops to its former West African colony to prevent Islamist rebels from advancing on the capital and to buy time for the Malian government and a West African regional force to organize a counterattack.

This has led to fears in some quarters that French soldiers will be drawn into a long-term engagement in the unstable region, an idea rejected by Paris.

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