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Ministers MacKay and Baird announce extension of C-17 mission

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French military jeeps are marshaled behind a CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft at Istres, France before being loaded and transported to Bamako, Mali. Credit: Sgt Matthew McGregor French military jeeps are marshaled behind a CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft at Istres, France before being loaded and transported to Bamako, Mali. Credit: Sgt Matthew McGregor

The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, and Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird have extended Canada's assistance to France through the extension of one CC-177 Globemaster III aircraft until Feb. 15.

This aircraft is available to France to move equipment and personnel to Mali's capital, Bamako. This aircraft and Canadian Armed Forces personnel will not be part of combat operations. Canada will continue to monitor events in Mali and the Sahel.

"Our government has a strong record of supporting international efforts to combat terrorist activities," said Minister MacKay. "This Canadian military asset provides France an important strategic lift capacity that enables them to pursue a more stable and secure region."

"Canada is a committed partner in combating terrorism in all forms," said Minister Baird. "We recognize the many challenges Mali and its neighbours are facing at the moment, and we are prepared to do our part for the people of the Sahel."

Baird added: "Our government also continues to reflect on contributions we can make in other non-military areas."

Canada has cooperated with Mali bilaterally, regionally and through La Francophonie with regard to development, good governance and security. Following the coup of March 2012, Canada suspended humanitarian assistance programs involving direct support to the Government of Mali. We have since refocused aid with a particular emphasis on food security through NGOs and multilateral channels.

On Dec. 20, 2012, the UN Security Council, acting under Chapter VII, adopted Resolution 2085 to authorize the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali, confirming the serious concern of the international community, including Canada and its allies, with the deteriorating situation in Mali. France started air strikes in Mali on Jan. 11, 2013, in response to a terrorist advance to the south that could have endangered Bamako.

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