Canada resisting UN request to extend Mali mission: sources

The Trudeau government is reportedly resisting a United Nations request to extend Canada's peacekeeping mission in Mali so medical evacuations can continue while replacements for Canada's personnel arrive.

Canada has eight helicopters and 250 military members in the sprawling West African nation to rescue injured peacekeepers and transport troops and their equipment.

The yearlong mission is scheduled to end in July, at which point the Canadians will pack up and start heading home.

Sources tell The Canadian Press that Romania is expected to take over from Canada, but that the Romanians likely won't arrive until October or November — months after the Canadians have left.

The UN previously turned to civilian helicopters to fill a month-long gap before the Canadian peacekeepers arrived in Mali last August, but this gap will be longer.

UN officials also have previously said that civilian helicopters aren't able to provide the same level of medical support as military aircraft and are more restricted in when and where they can operate.

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