FILE - In this Oct. 18, 2012 file photo, women wearing veils as mandated by Islamist group Ansar Dine, walk along a street in Timbuktu, Mali. (AP Photo/File)

Brussels - European Union foreign ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting in Brussels this week to discuss the crisis in Mali, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said on Monday.

Discussions will focus on speeding up preparations for an EU training mission to help the Malian forces and other “direct support” for the Bamako government, Ashton said.

“I have convened an extraordinary Foreign Affairs Council this week to take stock of possible EU actions in support of Mali (government) ... to help it cope with the current situation,” she said in a statement.

An EU diplomat said the meeting was likely to take place on Thursday. - Reuters