Obama supports French intervention in Mali

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State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Friday the United States has so far not been asked by Mali to provide direct support.

“We do understand that France has offered some immediate military support to the Malian armed forces at the request of the Malian government,” she said. “We are obviously consulting very closely with the government of France going forward.”

“The government of Mali has asked for support from France,” Nuland added. “Our understanding is that France is going to move forward with that. I'm not going to get into hypotheticals about what France might need or requests that haven't yet come to us.”

The country has been split in half since al Qaeda-linked Islamists and rebel Tuaregs took over the northern half of the country following a military coup last March. The Obama administration has called for the restoration of democracy and offered to help train an African force to reunite the country.