Feb 3 2013
Foreign Secretary William Hague has left the door open to British combat troops being deployed in Mali.
Ministers this week insisted the Government was acutely aware of the risk of mission creep as it provides assistance to French forces involved in attempts to drive Islamist militants from the region, but insisted there were no plans to put British boots on the ground.
Mr Hague said that remained the Government's intention but sidestepped calls to guarantee that UK troops would not be sucked into the conflict at a later date.
He told BBC 1's Sunday Politics: "There are no combat troops at all in this deployment and there are no plans to send combat troops."
Asked if he could give a commitment that there would never be any combat troops involved, he replied: "You can't foresee every situation but I can absolutely say we have no plans or current intention to do that."
Mr Hague also warned the risks from unstable regions meant the world was a more dangerous place than in recent times.
Asked if the world faced more danger than it had during the previous two decades, Mr Hague said: "Yes, I do think so. It is less stable."
The Government is sending 200 UK military advisers to help train a West African intervention force and Britain has offered 40 personnel to a European Union (EU) training mission to build up the fledgling Malian army.