- Associated Press - Thursday, February 20, 2014

ATHENS, Greece (AP) - European Union defense ministers are gathering in Athens to discuss European military operations and cooperation in a two-day informal meeting, which will also be attended by NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen.

Greece is hosting the meeting, which begins Thursday afternoon, as it currently holds the EU’s rotating six-month presidency.

Discussions among the ministers from the 28-nation bloc are to include the situation in the Central African Republic, to which France has sent 1,600 peacekeepers and is to increase that number to a total of 2,000 amid intense sectarian violence. The EU is also expected to send troops to the country.

Apart from attending the meeting, Rasmussen is also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Friday.

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