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French minister says Paris to help put Mali's 'historic' peace accord with Tuaregs in place

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PARIS — France's defense minister says that Paris will be helping Malians lock into place what he called a "historic" peace accord between northern Tuareg rebels and the government — which means a vast restructuring of the west African country's army.

Jean-Yves Le Drian said that he's traveling to the Mali capital Bamako on Monday "to see for himself that the accord is correctly put in place."

Le Drian told iTele on Sunday he wants to see how French troops, notably in the northern city of Gao, can best help put the accord — finalized on Saturday — into practice.

Armed groups must be integrated into a restructured Malian army after decades of conflict.

France invaded Mali in 2013 to rout Islamist extremists from the north and thousands of soldiers remain there.

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