RIYADH - Military intervention in Mali will aggravate strife in Africa and risk alienating the rest of the continent from its Arab north, Middle East power Egypt said on Monday.
France and several African states have sent troops to combat Islamist fighters who control northern Mali, responding to a request from the Malian government and fears that the vast desert country could become a launchpad for attacks by religious militants.
Speaking at the opening of an Arab development conference in Saudi Arabia, Egypt's President Mohamed Morsi said development was needed to solve the conflict in the impoverished country.
"I would like to confirm that we do not agree, ever, to military intervention in Mali because this would inflame the conflict in this region," Morsi said.
"The intervention must be peaceful and developmental and funds must be spent on development," he said. "What we don't ever want is to ... separate the Arab north from the core of Africa."