C-17 to support Mali intervention

Canada will join other countries in providing logistical support for the military intervention in Mali, donating the services of one C-17 transport plane for one week.


 
Prime Minister Harper announced on Monday that Canada would assign one RCAF C-17 transport aircraft to provide logistical support to the French military intervention in Mali for a period of one week (Steven Chase, “Ottawa offers use of military plane to beleaguered Mali,” Globe and Mail, 14 January 2013):
The Canadian government is offering logistical aid to beleaguered Mali as it struggles to beat back advances by Islamist rebels.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper said for now the assistance will consist of one week’s use of a Royal Canadian Air Force C-17 heavy lift transport plane.

This comes as the conflict in Mali escalates. Alarmed by the rapidly growing power of Islamist extremist fighters, France has sent combat forces into the African country to reinforce the crumbling military resistance to the rebel advance.

“The Government of Canada is deeply concerned by recent events in Mali. The establishment of a terrorist region in the middle of Africa is of grave concern to the broader international community, including Canada and our close allies,” the prime minister said.

Mr. Harper said Canada on Monday received a special request for assistance from the French government for a heavy-lift aircraft to transport equipment to Mali’s capital, Bamako.

“The Government of Canada will support our allies in this request and will be providing one RCAF C-17 transport aircraft in a non-combat role to support operations for a period of one week. The RCAF aircraft will not operate in any combat zone,” Mr. Harper said.

“At no time will Canadian Armed Forces members be participating in direct action against insurgent forces in Mali.”

The United States and Britain are also providing logistical and other support to the operation, but for the time being the French military and a planned West African force are the only international forces committed to a direct role in the fighting.

The prime minister’s statement reiterated that “the Government of Canada is not, and will not be, considering a direct Canadian military mission in Mali” (“Statement by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on providing logistical support to Mali,” 14 January 2013). He did not, however, rule out additional contributions of logistical or other support for the fighting. Canada is already providing training to soldiers in Niger, one of the countries expected to contribute to the West African intervention force.

Previous Ceasefire.ca coverage can be read here and here.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

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4 Responses to “C-17 to support Mali intervention”

  1. EricJanuary 16, 2013 at 4:09 pm #

    The mission is non-military? I guess the goods being transported and the training of soldiers is humanitarian only. (That’s as likely as Harper supporting Palestinian rights.)

    Reportedly he’s already said the week-long mission has been extended. I guess it takes a few days to get reliable polling data.

    France, Britain, United States, Canada — what a diverse group of countries is intervening!
    (We’ll see how enthusiastic African countries are …)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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    [...] Canada’s contribution to the intervention remains minor, but if the French government is correct, additional commitments are already being added (David Pugliese, “Canada to transport African troops to Mali for fight against extremists, France says,” Ottawa Citizen, 20 January 2013): France’s foreign minister has announced that Canada has offered to transport African troops to Mali as the war against Islamic extremists continues.  [...]

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    [...] plane, one week, for “non-combat role to support operations” – more here, here, here and [...]