France's defense minister says he's hoping European partners will pitch in as many troops as possible to help French forces disarm religious militias in the chaotic Central African Republic.

France is pushing at a European Union summit opening in Brussels on Thursday for more than the modest logistical support offered so far. France has 1,600 troops in the former French colony that has been wracked by sectarian violence and descending into lawlessness since a coup earlier this year.

Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Europe-1 radio Thursday he wants the "maximum" number of troops from EU countries. Earlier French officials suggested Belgium, Britain and Germany might offer troops, but those countries have not confirmed any offer.

Le Drian says the European troops could help disarm militias and protect refugees.