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OTTAWA — France will be able to continue using a massive Canadian military transport plane to ferry troops and equipment into Mali until at least the middle of February, the Harper government confirmed Thursday.

The decision was widely expected and came only a few hours before the government’s initial week-long promise to help France with a C-17 transport was to expire.

“This Canadian military asset provides France an important strategic lift capacity that enables them to pursue a more stable and secure region,” Defence Minister Peter MacKay said in a statement.

The aircraft will remain available to France until Feb. 15.

More to come…

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