France considering plans to buy US drones: Report
Iran Press TV
Sat Apr 6, 2013 7:38AM GMT
France is reportedly mulling over purchasing US-made unarmed Reaper surveillance drones in a bid to enhance its military capabilities.
A source in France's Defence Ministry told AFP on Friday "A letter has been sent to Washington to evaluate the feasibility' of buying the drones.
This comes as the country has recently waged a war on the West African country of Mali where Washington has sent several Predator drones to support French forces.
On January 11, France launched aerial attacks and deployed hundreds of troops into Mali in a major war that Paris claimed had been intended to drive out anti-government fighters from its former African colony. The United States, Canada, Britain, Belgium, Germany, and Denmark aided the move.
Meanwhile on March 22, Washington Post reported that the US has set up a drone base in the Nigerien capital of Niamey, apparently to back up French troops in Mali.
"We just know there are drones; we don't know what they are doing exactly," the newspaper cited Djibril Abarchi, the chairman of the Nigerien Association for the Defense of Human Rights.
Unarmed US Predator drones fly out of the base, which is surrounded by a razor-wire-topped wall, with a 100-strong contingent of US Air Force personnel, the report added.
On February 22, US President Barack Obama announced that 100 US military personnel had been sent to Niger to provide "support for intelligence collection" and to "facilitate intelligence sharing with French forces conducting operations in Mali, and with other partners in the region."
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