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 Defense 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.