Islamic states back efforts to regain Mali territory

Islamic states said on Thursday they support efforts to help Mali "regain its territorial integrity," in an apparent reference to France's military intervention in the African country.

In the final statement of the 12th summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, delegates stressed "firm support for current efforts by Mali to regain its territorial integrity and its authority over all national territory."

The text does not explicitly mention French military operations in Mali.

OIC members such as Egypt and Qatar had criticised the intervention, which came after Bamako called for help in dealing with armed groups linked to Al-Qaeda that had taken over its northern half.

Participants at the summit, who represent the world's 1.5 billion Muslims, "strongly condemn the acts committed by terrorist groups and movements and other networks of organised crime and drug trafficking."

They also slammed the "despicable actions committed against civilians... and the destruction of cultural sites, such as those classified by UNESCO as world heritage" sites, the Islamic leaders said.

At the summit, the OIC said it was appointing Burkina Faso's foreign minister, Djibril Bassoli, as special envoy to Mali and the Sahel region.