Oct 22, 2012 4:10 PM by Lauren Molenburg
PARIS (AP) - France is moving surveillance drones to western Africa and holding secretive talks with the United States as part of efforts to help Mali's feeble government win back the northern part of the country from al-Qaida-linked rebels.
France and the United Nations insist any invasion must be led by African troops. But France has six hostages in Mali and fears it's becoming a new source of cross-border terrorism, and is playing an increasing role behind the scenes.
A French defense official said Monday that drones are headed to the region soon. And officials said American and French military leaders and diplomats are holding talks Monday on intelligence-gathering and security in Africa's Sahel region.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the activities publicly.
(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)