France will provide logistical support, advice to eventual African rapid-reaction force

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Plans to create an African rapid-reaction force to intervene in the continent's conflicts are gathering steam, with the French officially agreeing to provide equipment, logistical support and advice on coordination.

French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the force could be operational by 2015.

At a summit Friday with African and French leaders in Paris, the French also said they would train 20,000 African troops a year for five years.

The African Union has long wanted a rapid-reaction force to shift the burden of restoring order in African conflicts to Africans themselves. A French intervention in Mali earlier this year when the country's north was overrun by Islamist fighters was testament to the necessity of such a force.

French troops are also deploying to stem violence in Central African Republic.