An EU mission to train Malian soldiers is due to begin as part of efforts to help the West African country counter an Islamist insurgency.
The first of four Malian battalions will train under European instructors at the Koulikoro base some 60km (37 miles) from the capital, Bamako.
A French-led intervention that began in January has regained the main cities of northern Mali from Islamist groups.
However, fighting continues in the north.
Of the 550 troops from 22 EU nations sent to Mali, about 150 are trainers with the rest made up of mission support staff and force protection.
France is the biggest contributor to the force with 207 troops, followed by Germany with 71, Spain with 54, Britain 40, the Czech Republic 34, Belgium 25 and Poland 20.
Training takes place under the control of French Brigadier…
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