US agrees to refuel French warplanes on Mali mission
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The Pentagon has agreed to refuel French warplanes that are currently conducting operations against Islamist militants in Mali, the US military said in a statement.
President Barack Obama's administration had previously been asked by France for refueling assistance and outgoing US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has now approved the request, Pentagon spokesman George Little said on Saturday.
Obama held telephone talks with French President Francois Hollande on Friday in which the two leaders discussed global security concerns and vowed to work together to tackle extremism across North Africa.
France deployed troops to Mali two weeks ago who have been working with government forces to try to flush out radical Islamist fighters including Al-Qaeda linked rebels who had seized control of several northern towns.