Mauritania to send 1,800 troops to Mali: France's Fabius

Regional military power Mauritania is ready to send 1,800 soldiers into neighbouring Mali as part of an incoming UN peacekeeping force as France and Chad phase in troop drawdown, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said on Thursday.

"The Mauritanian president assured me on Monday night that he was (favourably) pre-disposed, depending on conditions to be worked out, to sending 1,800 men to join the future contingent," Fabius told the European Parliament's foreign affairs committee meeting in France.

Fabius was in Nouakchott on Monday to meet President Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

France has begun a phased withdrawal of its 4,000 soldiers, with all but 1,000 expected to have left by the end of the year.

Chad President Idriss Deby, who sent 2,000 troops to Mali, announced on Sunday that its forces would be staging their own withdrawal ahead of schedule from the present 6,000-strong African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA).

France on Monday obtained a draft resolution in the UN Security Council for a 10,000-plus UN peacekeeping force to take over military duties in the west African nation on July 1.

Fabius said the resolution "should be adopted in the third week of April, that's the indications I have."

Fabius said that all Mali is now "under control," despite the threat of suicide attacks and renegade actions.