The EU wants to see more African involvement in Mali. Paris has suggested a mission of African nations, under UN leadership.
Crimea's pro-Moscow parliament has voted to join Russia. Meanwhile, European Union leaders are meeting in Brussels to decide how to respond to Russia's military incursion into the Ukrainian peninsula.
French President Francois Hollande has pledged his country's commitment to the Central African Republic as it struggles to end ethnic clashes. His visit comes ahead of an increase to French and EU troop deployment.
A Russian military drill has raised fears of interference in Ukraine, where politicians are scrambling to stabilize the government and avoid bankruptcy. The crisis comes just ahead of the naming of an interim cabinet.
The first troops from a joint Franco-German military brigade are to be deployed to Mali.The soldiers are to operate in a support and training role for forces already in the West African state.
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