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Second supplies plane sent to Mali

A second RAF C-17 transport aircraft has left Paris with supplies and personnel for the French military mission fighting al Qaida-backed rebels in Mali, the Ministry of Defence says.

The aircraft's departure from the French capital was embarrassingly delayed after spare parts had to be flown over from the UK to repair a problem with the hydraulics.

Earlier another C-17 arrived at Bamako airport in the west African state with the first consignment of support for the French force.

David Cameron's decision to offer "limited" logistical support to the French was formally endorsed at a meeting of the National Security Council.

"The NSC agreed that our approach is the right one, which is logistical support to the French through airlift capability and the sharing of any intelligence that we may have, and continued diplomatic efforts with our international partners at the UN and elsewhere," the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.

Meanwhile foreign ministry political directors of the G8 nations meeting in London backed the French intervention in support of the Malian government.

"They noted that it is essential to halt the offensive by terrorist groups towards southern Mali, to prevent the collapse of the Malian state, and to accelerate the implementation of UN Security Council resolutions in all their dimensions: political, security and humanitarian," a statement issued at the end of the meeting said.

French defence military officials said they currently had 800 troops on the ground, with plans in place to expand the size of the force to 2,500, until an African force is able to take over.

President Francois Hollande, on a visit to the United Arab Emirates, insisted that he had no desire for French troops to stay in Mali.

"We have one objective - to ensure that when we leave, when we end our intervention, Mali is safe, has legitimate authorities, an electoral process and there are no more terrorists threatening the territorial integrity of Mali," he said.

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ministry-of-defence(Ministry of Defence)