Tanzanian president denies his country plans to send troops to Mali
Last Updated:2013-01-28 15:42 | Xinhua
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Tanzanian President Jakaya Kikwete on Sunday morning denied information alleging that his country plans to send troops to Mali under the auspices of the International Support Mission for Mali (MISMA).

The Tanzanian president was speaking in Addis Ababa during the opening of the 20th ordinary summit of the African Union (AU) which has brought together about 40 African heads of state and government as well as United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

In a firm and unequivocal statement, the Tanzanian president told Xinhua that his country's official position on the matter had already been communicated by the foreign minister who spoke about reinforcement of MISMA's capacity through other means. The matter will be the subject of discussion during a donors' conference on Tuesday in the Ethiopian capital.

"It's not clear whether Tanzania will send troops. We shall confirm it," the AU's Peace and Security Commissioner, Ramtane Lamamra, had told Xinhua earlier.

Some members of the Tanzanian delegation to the 20th AU summit affirmed that the country did not plan to send troops because of the language barrier.

"Tanzania is an English speaking country while Mali uses French as the official language," they explained.

"We have had troops in Lebanon and in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo). And it's normal because in the latter, the language of expression is Kiswahili (commonly used in the East African region)," a Tanzanian diplomatic source told Xinhua.

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