The military cooperation agreements announced last month with Algeria and Libya are part of UK 'energy diplomacy' aimed at securing access to strategic resources in North Africa. Both countries are identified in the UK Energy Security Strategy as producers of gas and oil which are important trading partners and hence countries which are important to the UK's energy security.
On average a man, women or child dies every minute as a result of armed violence.Two thirds die in countries that are not officially in conflict. Violence fuelled by illegal arms diverts resources away from schools, healthcare and critical infrastructure. It undermines sustainable development, eats away at stability and robs millions of their future.
Despite little media coverage al Qaeda-linked Islamist groups have been consolidating and extending their grip across northern Mali for several months. Jihadist fighters have reportedly been crossing Mali's porous borders described by Malians as having come from as far afield as Yemen, Somalia and Afghanistan.