Feb. 2- French President Francois Hollande offers assurances that France will help restore government control in Mali, but will not remain in the country. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
A hero's welcome as French President Francois Hollande arrives in Timbuktu. Days after French and Malaian forces reclamied the city, Hollande is hailed as a libarator. His one day trip also took him to the capital city Bamako, where he offered his thanks as well as his assurances. (SOUNDBITE) (French) FRANCOIS HOLLANDE, FRENCH PRESIDENT, SAYING: "But I confess out of respect -- France does not intend to remain here in Mali, because it is Malians themselves who will ensure the country's independence and sovereignty. This is how I see the relationship between France and Africa, respect, democracy and transparency. " On January 11th France launched an offensive to clear northern Mali of Islamist jihadists. It's a move backed by the US and the EU. While they are providing training and support, they have ruled out sending their own ground troops.