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Sport G5 Sahel: France will remain present militarily in the coming months

17:45  16 february  2021
17:45  16 february  2021 Source:   rfi.fr

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Un soldat français de l'opération Barkhane Force debout sur une base FAMa (Forces armées maliennes) avec le mont Hombori en arrière-plan. © AFP / Daphné Benoît A French soldier from Operation Barkhane Force standing on a FAMa (Malian Armed Forces) base with Mount Hombori in the background.

The French president calls for the beheading of jihadist groups affiliated with al-Qaeda in the Sahel. Emmanuel Macron spoke after participating by videoconference at the Ndjamena summit, with his counterparts from the G5 Sahel. The event was an opportunity to take stock of the actions carried out since the Pau summit, a year ago, in France. And the French president also announced that there will be no downsizing of the French military operation Barkane in the coming months.

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"In the coming months our military presence in the Sahel will not change and we will launch other major operations", assures Emmanuel Macron. The Barkhane force will therefore remain composed of just over 5,000 soldiers, and the reinforcement of 600 men decided on a year ago in Pau therefore remains relevant.

Withdrawal, a mistake ...

However, in recent weeks, on the strength of the successes obtained against the Islamic State in the Great Sahara, designated enemy number one, the Elysee has considered reducing the French military footprint. So President Macron explains it: the military effort led to victories and it made it possible to save the Sahel a second time, massively withdrawing men from Barkhane would be a mistake, he believes today before add: "We would weaken the efforts made so far." »

Next evolution

If Barkhane , in its current format, therefore remains in place, the president does not give up a next evolution. New decisions will be taken in the summer, he said at a future summit. And by then, the Head of State wants military results, this time against al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and especially against the high hierarchy of the katibas affiliated to him, that of Iyad Ag Ghali and the katiba Macina of Amadou Koufa, a prerequisite to hope for a French disengagement in a few months.

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