NEW: France to Help Africans with Rapid-Reaction Force 12/6/13
PARIS - Plans to create an African rapid-reaction force to intervene in the continent's conflicts are gathering steam, with the French officially agreeing to provide equipment, logistical support and advice on coordination.
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the force could be operational by 2015.
At a summit Friday with African and French leaders in Paris, the French also said they would train 20,000 African troops a year for five years.
The African Union has long wanted a rapid-reaction force to shift the burden of restoring order in African conflicts to Africans themselves. A French intervention in Mali earlier this year when the country's north was overrun by Islamist fighters was testament to the necessity of such a force.
French troops are also deploying to stem violence in Central African Republic.