Aswat Masriya (Cairo)

22 January 2013

Mali: Egypt Is 'Minority Facing Consensus' On Intervention in Mali - France

The French Foreign Ministry has described Egypt's stance on France's intervention in Mali as "a minority in the face of widespread consensus" from the global community.

Egypt does not agree to the military intervention in Mali since this is bound to fuel strife in the area, President Mohamed Mursi said on Monday during the inauguration of the Arab Economic Summit conference in Saudi Arabia.

We do not want to create an area of bloody conflict in the middle of Africa that separates the north and the south, Mursi added.

The French diplomacy must, through its close contacts with Egyptian officials, explain its stance in a way that makes these officials understand and agree with the analysis regarding the gravity of the events in Mali and the necessity of taking action towards them, the state news agency reported French foreign ministry spokesman Philippe Lalliot as saying.

France and several African countries had sent troops to fight Malian Islamists who seized northern Mali lest the country turns into a base for the attacks of Islamist extremists.

The crisis in Mali will be on President Mursi's agenda during his visit to Paris next month, Lalliot said.

Scores of Islamists demonstrated last Friday in front of the French embassy in Giza in protest against what they called the use of force against Muslims in Mali.

The demonstrators demanded severing diplomatic ties between Cairo and Paris and expelling France's ambassador to Egypt.

France gave Egypt last September a non-refundable €300 million grant to aid the country in building a new underground line.

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