Flickr-US Army Africa
The European Union (EU) hosts an international meeting to discuss the situation in crisis-hit Mali.
"We have offered to host on Feb. 5 a ministerial meeting of the international support and follow-up group on the situation in Mali," said Michael Mann, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. The conference will involve the United Nations, the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
France deployed more than 2,000 troops in Mali to help counter an offensive by Islamist rebels. The EU sent hundreds of military personnel to train Malian government forces fighting Islamist rebels in the north of the country. In addition, the union has set up a "clearing house mechanism" to channel support to the ECOWAS intervention force.