Main job for Africans once Mali towns taken - Hollande

PARIS Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:47pm IST

French President Francois Hollande attends a news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, January 28, 2013. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

French President Francois Hollande attends a news conference at the Elysee Palace in Paris, January 28, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

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PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande said on Monday that the task of restoring northern Mali's territorial integrity would be the job of African forces once key towns had been taken in a military operation to repel Islamist militants.

"What do we still need to do? Stop the terrorist offensive. That's done. (Then) retake the towns with the Malian and African forces... But northern Mali is still under terrorist control. So it's up to the Africans to permit Mali to restore its territorial integrity," Hollande told a news conference.

(Reporting By Brian Love and John Irish; Editing by Paul Taylor)

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