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French president says he is ready to stop Malian insurgents' advance if it continues

President Francois Hollande says France is ready to stop the advance of al-Qaida-linked militants in Mali.

Malian President Dioncounda Traore has sought help from France, the country's former colonial power, to stop the rebels, who control the northern half of the country and are heading south.

Until now, France — like other EU nations — has limited its plans for assistance to training and logistics support for Mali's troubled army.

But in a speech Friday to the country's diplomatic corps, Hollande said he was ready to respond to the Malian authorities' call for help. He said France would seek a United Nations resolutions for any action but that it was "ready to stop the terrorists' advance if it continues."