Boston’s MP Mark Simmonds has explained the UK’s ‘limited’ role in military operations in Mali as part of his job as minister for Africa.
Mr Simmonds, who was appointed to the Foreign Office role in last year’s reshuffle, says our forces will be supporting the French in their operation to help the Mali government tackle rebels affiliated with al-Qaeda.
British troops are not said to be deployed for combat, but our planes will be used to help with transport and logistics.
Mr Simmonds told Sky News: “We are only providing limited logistical support in reponse to a French request.”
He said the matter was ‘immensely complex’ and that our support was ‘absolutely essential’.
Mr Simmonds went on to explain on social networking site Twitter: “UK assistance to France in Mali is in response to threat from international terrorism there. African mission deploying soon.
“But we also need to keep up the efforts to secure a lasting political settlement.”