Although there is public concern not to see Britain dragged into a long African operation, the UK Government has promised strictly limited assistance to transport French troops out to Mali and this week to offer instructors for Malian troops. The French are aiming to stop Islamic militants using this large area as a safe place to base and train their supporters and stopping that is in our interests too. Their request for UK support for their troops is not unusual and the French do help us. I understand that the Germans have also given transport. Defence Secretary Philip Hammond was impressive in explaining to the House of Commons that there is no intention of any greater military commitment by the British other than that which has already been announced. I am sure many will welcome this reassurance.

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