OTTAWA - Newly released documents show that Canada's soldiers and diplomats began paving the way for possible military involvement in Mali last spring, shortly after al-Qaida-backed rebels seized control of the country's north.
The documents show Canada began laying down lines of communication with the French and Americans over the crisis in the African country as early as last spring.
But the spade work has not yet amounted to much with the Conservative government.
The government's one-week commitment of a single C-17 heavy-lift transport aircraft, intended to help move French military equipment, will likely be extended later this week.
But beyond that, the government is averse to becoming more involved as fighting involving French forces escalates in remote desert Malian communities.
Defence experts put the reluctance down to "Afghanistan fatigue" with the war winding down there.
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