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France trusts Algeria to end hostage crisis

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iol news pic Algeria gas field attack

Reuters

A road sign indicating In Amenas, about 100 km (60 miles) from the Algerian and Libyan border, is seen in this undated picture provided by Norwegian oil company Statoil January 16, 2013. Islamist militants attacked a gas field in Algeria on Wednesday, claiming to have kidnapped up to 41 foreigners including seven Americans during a dawn raid. The In Amenas gas field is operated by a joint venture including BP, Norwegian oil firm Statoil and Algerian state company Sonatrach. REUTERS/Kjetil Alsvik / Statoil/Handout

Paris - France has total confidence in the Algerian government to resolve a standoff at a desert gas facility where dozens of Western and Algerian hostages are being held, French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Thursday.

Le Drian said he would travel to Berlin in the next few hours to talk to his German counterpart about France's military campaign against Islamist rebels in Mali. The hostage-takers in Algeria have demanded an end to France's Mali campaign.

Le Drian told reporters there were now 1 400 French troops on the ground in Mali. A battle between French soldiers and rebel fighters was ongoing in the town of Diabaly and likely to continue into Friday. - Reuters


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