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EU, 2 other nations meet to pledge Mali trainers

Associated Press

BRUSSELS (AP) - EU countries are meeting Tuesday in Brussels to pledge personnel and other support for a military training mission to Mali, an EU official said.

The EU envisions a mission of 500 people, up to half of them military trainers, the official said. The purpose is to turn the Malian army into a force that can control the vast African country once international soldiers wrest the north from Islamist rebels.

The office of British Prime Minister David Cameron said the U.K. would contribute as many as 40 people to the EU mission.

The trainers will work near Bamako, the Malian capital, and will not see combat. The training is projected to begin April 1, the EU official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the ongoing meeting.

Tuesday's session groups representatives of the 27 EU countries plus Norway and Canada. One or two more such meetings are expected.

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