Biden visits Paris, backs French Mali intervention
US Vice-President Joe Biden congratulated France on its intervention in Mali this weekend before arriving in Paris to meet President François Hollande.
“I congratulate France and its partners for the action in Mali,” Biden said at the international security conference in Munich on Saturday.
The situation in Malu affects US interests, he said, even if the fight against Al Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) is taking place a long way away from America.
Deputy Defence Secretary Ashton Carter echoed Biden’s message in an interview with the Journal Du Dimanche Sunday newspaper after a meeting with French Defence Minister jean-Yves Le Drian in Paris on Friday.
Washington had “no hesitation” in supporting the French intervention, even though it took two weeks to send refuelling planes to help French military aircraft in Mali.
That was because President Barack Obama had to go through “seemingly interminable” procedures to authorise the move, Carter said, adding that Paris and Washington agree that the present situation must be followed by elections.
Biden was set to arrive in Paris Sunday and meet Hollande on Monday.