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Below are key developments in international efforts to wrest control of northern Mali from Islamists, after the United Nations on Thursday backed sending troops and police to take over from French and African forces:
- September 23: Mali and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agree on conditions for deployment of an African force to help Bamako reclaim the Islamist-seized north.
- September 24: Mali asks the United Nations for authorization for a West African-led military force to help it seize back territory from Islamist rebels, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius says.
- November 6: West African army chiefs adopt a military plan to expel Islamists from the north.
- November 11: A West African summit agrees on an African force of 3,300 troops with a one-year mandate.
- December 10: The EU approves plans to deploy an EU military training mission in Mali.
- December 20: The UN Security Council unanimously approves sending an African-led military force, but in stages and without fixing a precise timetable.
- January 11: France launches its operation Serval, aimed at halting the advance of armed Islamists and supporting Malian government troops. ECOWAS authorises the immediate deployment of troops to Mali under MISMA (International Mission for Support to Mali).
- January 23: The first contingent of the African force begins moving towards the centre of the country, France says.
- March 9: Chad's 2,000-strong contingent in Mali officially joins the regional African force, which now comprises around 6,300 troops.
- April 2: The EU begins an overhaul of Mali's army to help it take the place of foreign troops, training an initial 570 Malian soldiers.
- April 22: The French parliament authorises the government to extend operation Serval, but says its manpower should drop from around 4,000 to 1,000 by the end of the year.
- April 25: The UN Security Council backs sending up to 12,600 international troops and police to take over from French and African forces, aiming for a July 1 start.