Catherine Ashton, the EU's foreign affairs representative, thanked France and the African countries that committed troops during an emergency debate on Tuesday and acknowledged that no other European country was sending forces.
"We cannot remain indifferent in this situation," Ashton said.
Among African countries, Nigeria's offer of 900 soldiers is by far the largest and includes 150 officers expected to leave within a day. Other African countries have pledged forces but given no arrival dates, leaving the French fighting on their own indefinitely.
"We don't have a real support from most of our European partners. We know that the Africans will come. We know that they can provide surveillance, they can really be there with the French," said Yves Boyer, an analyst with the Paris-based Foundation for Strategic Research. "But again, the bulk of the fight will be for the French."
Associated Press reporters Sylvie Corbet and Bastien Inzaurralde in Paris and Raf Casert in Brussels contributed to this report.
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