The Government of Canada announced Thursday that it will extend its support of France's mission in Mali for an additional month. At the request of the French Government in early January, the Canadian Armed Forces contributed a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-177 Globemaster III strategic airlift aircraft in support of Operation Serval, the French mission in Mali, and will continue to provide this support until March 15.
"Canada is committed to standing with our international allies in a fight against extremists and to making a positive contribution to regional and international security," said Defence Minister Peter MacKay. "The work of our well-equipped Canadian men and women in uniform, in support of our Government's intent, is helping to stabilize the security situation in Mali and beyond."
"Canada is very pleased to support our French allies and the good work they and African forces are doing to combat extremism in Northern Mali," said Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird. "Some questioned the need for this type of military asset at the time our government purchased it. The example of recent days and weeks proves the worth of this type of heavy-lift capability and the wisdom of the government's decision to invest in it for the Royal Canadian Air Force."
Operation Serval is conducted under United Nations Security Council Resolution 2085 that authorizes the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali and calls upon the international community to support this mission and the Malian Security and Defence Forces.
Air Task Force Mali consists of one CC-177 Globemaster III and approximately 40 Royal Canadian Air Force personnel including flight and maintenance crews from 429 Transport Squadron and air movement traffic technicians from 2 Air Movements Squadron, both from 8 Wing Trenton, Ontario. Since January 17, a total of 27 flights of more than 194,000 kilometres were conducted airlifting more than 765,000 kilograms of military equipment and personnel in support of Operation Serval.
"The strategic heavy lift capacity provided to France illustrates the Canadian Armed Forces' tangible support to a key ally in their mission to contain terrorist organizations in Northern Mali," said General Tom Lawson, the Chief of the Defence Staff. "This mission reflects the high degree of readiness of the Royal Canadian Air Force and the importance of an agile and versatile expeditionary air force in the 21st century."
The CC-177 Globemaster III and Royal Canadian Air Force personnel departed Trenton for France on January 15, and conducted its first operational flight on January 17 in support of Operation Serval.
The Detachment Commanding Officer for the Air Task Force Mali is Major William Church.
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