London - British Foreign Secretary William Hague arrived in
Mali on Monday for a visit to meet French-backed African troops fighting
Islamist militants for control of the west African country, his ministry said.
"My visit, the first by a British foreign secretary,
underlines the UK's strong commitment to work with international partners to
support Mali and countries in the region on countering terrorism and restoring
security in the country," Hague said on his arrival in the capital Bamako.
He will hold talks with the president and prime minister of
Mali as well as the west African country's foreign minister during his visit.
Hague will also meet the commander of the African-led AFISMA
force, as well as the deputy commander of the European mission which is
training Malian forces.
Britain has supplied a Royal Air Force C-17 cargo aircraft
and a surveillance plane to help French troops.
Britain is not sending combat troops, but it will also
supply 40 personnel for the EU training mission in Mali, and up to 200 for a
separate training force in neighbouring English-speaking West African nations.
French and Chadian troops are currently hunting down
Islamist rebels who were driven from northern Mali's main cities by a lightning
French-led offensive launched in mid-January.