The European Union is considering sending about 200 troops to train Mali’s army to retake the Islamist-held north, but is not willing to deploy them in battle, EU officials said on Tuesday.
Fears are growing in Europe that the African country could turn into a platform for terrorist attacks, after Islamist fighters seized two-thirds of its territory earlier this year.
“There is a willingness among member states to put boots on the ground - but only on the parade ground,” one of the EU officials said. “I haven’t heard from member states a willingness to put people in the field.”
The EU discussions are among international efforts to mobilise against the militants in northern Mali, which has attracted Islamists, criminal networks and al-Qaeda-linked gunmen.