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Italy backs off on military assistance in Mali

ROME >> Premier Mario Monti says Italy is backing off its commitment to assist France’s military campaign against Islamist fighters in Mali because his caretaker government lacks political support on the issue during the run-up to national elections next month.

A proposal to send three transport planes and up to 24 military advisers to Mali had already passed the Chamber of Deputies, but Monti said Monday that many parliamentarians who voted in favor are not seeking re-election and the leaders of the parties supporting his technocrat government had expressed opposition.

Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi said logistic support for France should be a priority of the new parliament but “at the moment the political conditions are lacking.”

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