Mali conflict: On the front line with French troops
20 January 2013 Last updated at 11:29 GMT
West African nations must "pick up the baton" and send more troops to support the international intervention in Mali, the French foreign minister has said.
Laurent Fabius told a meeting of West African leaders that France had been obliged to send its forces "very, very rapidly otherwise there would be no more Mali".
The front line extends across the centre of Mali and slightly into the north of the country, and holding the ground requires huge numbers of troops.
The BBC's Mark Doyle reports from the town of Segou, where French forces are manning the front line.