3 February 2013

Nigeria: Resolution of Mali Crisis Imperative, Says UK's Defence Chief

The United Kingdom says it is committed to efforts to drive out rebels from Northern Mali and restore peace in the country.

The British Chief of Defence Staff, Gen. David Richards, gave the assurance when he visitited Admiral Ola Ibrahim, the Chief of Defence Staff, on Sunday in Abuja.

"Mali is imperative and immediate. We are with you 100 percent.

"As we draw down from Aghanistan, we will have resources to do more in the sub-region.

"I am intending to send a brigade down to Africa to train you," he said.

Richards expressed confidence that Nigeria could provide the leadership to resolve the Mali crisis.

"We are here to get Mali right, I am extremely confident that this can be achieved," he said.

He stressed that the quick resolution of the crisis was not only in the interest of the region and Nigeria but that of Britain as well.

Earlier, Ibrahim had assured that in spite of the crisis facing the country, it was committed to ending the crisis in Mali.

According to him, it is in the best interest of all to solve it so that it will not consume the entire sub-region.

"Nigeria appreciates your commitment to assist us in whatever shape to enhance our participation in the sub-regional enterprise.

"At the risk of saying the obvious, the sub-region looks up to us (Nigeria) for leadership and we want to provide that," he said.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that both defence chiefs earlier held a closed door meeting.

It was learnt that during the meeting, a number of issues including UK's assistance to the armed forces in the areas of training, intelligence and other logistics, were discussed. (NAN)

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