OTTAWA — Canada is being urged to step up in Mali, including through the provision of military assistance to help fight Islamic militants in the region and a diplomatic push to lead peace and reconciliation talks.
The calls for greater involvement follow a coup in August that has once again left the country under military rule even as violence between different armed groups continues to spiral out of control.
Brig.-Gen. Cyril Carcy, who previously commanded a French counter-terrorism mission in the area, suggested during a panel discussion that talks are underway between Paris and Ottawa around the provision of more Canadian military assistance.
Carcy, who is now based out of the French Embassy in Washington, did not provide specifics on those discussions.
But he said Canada could provide intelligence and air-to-air refueling to help French and African forces in the region.
Former Canadian ambassador to Mali Isabelle Roy lamented during the same panel discussion that Ottawa was not more involved in peace and reconciliation talks in Mali as the country struggles with violence and political instability.
Roy said Canada was involved in such efforts in Mali in previous years, but that she and others could like to see it more present in the country now, warning that instability there will affect peace and security in Europe and around the world.
The Canadian Press