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Brazil's embassy in Mali to stay open

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-01-24 11:14

RIO DE JANEIRO - Brazil's embassy in Mali, where the government forces and militants are engaged in clashes, will stay open, Foreign Ministry spokesman Tovar da Silva Nunes said Wednesday.

The state-run news agency Agencia Brasil quoted Nunes as saying that there have been no orders from the government to close the embassy, though several countries, including Japan, have temporarily closed their embassies in Mali due to the worsening security situation in the West African country.

Mali has been split into two since April, 2012, after the al Qaida-linked rebels seized the north. France swept to the aid of the ill-equipped Malian army on January 11, as the rebels made a push south towards the capital Bamako.

The international campaign against the Mali rebels mounted after 37 hostages including European, American and Japanese nationals were killed last week in rescue operations in an Algerian gas plant.

Al Qaida-linked terrorists who claimed responsibility for the hostage taking in Algeria, which neighbors Mali, said they carried out the kidnapping in retaliation for the French offensive in Mali. They also said they wanted to abduct a group of Western workers to northern Mali to hold them for ransom.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Wednesday that "We cannot permit northern Mali to become a safe haven (for rebels)." US military planes have helped to ferry French soldiers and equipment to Mali. A coalition force from the West African nations is also moving into the troubled country .

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