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Large-scale military operations in Mali 'coming to an end'

Xinhua | Updated: 2013-02-20 04:56

PARIS - Large-scale military operations in Mali "are coming to an end," Malian Prime Minister Diango Cissoko said here Tuesday.

"The security and military situation is much better than a few weeks ago. Large-scale military operations in Mali are coming to an end. What's remaining is to restore security and stability in the retaken zones," Cissoko said.

Following talks with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius in Paris, the Malian senior official pledged to "end election operations no later than July 31" and invited the different Malian factions to participate in the national dialogue in a bid to outline the country's roadmap to guarantee political stability and boost development in the conflict-torn country.

In a joint press conference, Fabius stressed that military operation in Mali was "in progress as terrorists have not all been killed."

In a statement posted on its website, the defense ministry said 150 French and Malian soldiers, supported by vehicle patrol and Mirage fighter jets, attacked the Adrar des Ifoghas mountains where Islamist insurgents took refuge.

"The French mission was able to locate terrorist elements in their hideout, to chase them and to kill more than 20 of them," it added.

One French soldier was killed during the operation, bringing the death toll of French troops in Mali to two since the start of Seval operation in January 11.

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