Germany approves more soldiers for UN mission in MaliJanuary 11, 2017 1:15pm

BERLIN (AP) — The German government has approved an expansion of the country's military deployment in Mali, with Berlin sending more helicopters to support the U.N. peacekeeping mission there.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet on Wednesday approved a one-year extension of the mission in Mali. Under the new mandate starting Feb. 1, which requires parliamentary approval, the maximum number of German soldiers in Mali will be raised from 650 to 1,000.

At present, Germany has about 530 soldiers in the U.N. peacekeeping force taking care of reconnaissance and other duties.

It plans to send extra transport and combat helicopters, but not until March at the earliest and for a limited period. Those aircraft will replace helicopters being withdrawn by the Netherlands.

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