EU, plus Norway and Canada, meet to pledge personnel for military training mission in Mali

An official says representatives of EU countries are meeting in Brussels to pledge personnel and other support for a military training mission to Mali.

EU officials envision a mission of 500 people, half of them military trainers, the official said Tuesday. The purpose is to turn the Malian army into a force that can control the vast African country once international soldiers wrest the north from Islamist rebels.

The trainers will work near Bamako, the capital, and won't see combat. The training is projected to begin April 1, the EU official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the ongoing meeting.

Tuesday's session groups representatives of the 27 EU countries plus Norway and Canada. One or two more such meetings are expected.