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US News Sahel: There will be no immediate adjustment of the French presence, says Macron

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

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SAHEL-SECURITE-FRANCE: Sahel: There will be no immediate adjustment of the French presence, says Macron

SAHEL: IL N'Y AURA PAS D'AJUSTEMENT IMMÉDIAT DE LA PRÉSENCE FRANÇAISE, DIT MACRON © Reuters / POOL New SAHEL: THERE WILL BE NO IMMEDIATE ADJUSTMENT OF THE FRENCH PRESENCE, SAYS MACRON

PARIS (Reuters) - There will be no immediate adjustment of the French military presence in the Sahel, Emmanuel Macron said on Tuesday at the G5 Sahel summit in N'Djamena.

"No doubt significant changes will be made to our military system in the Sahel in due course, but they will not take place immediately", declared the French president.

There is an increasingly strong will of our European partners to take part in the mission of the Takuba force, added the Head of State, who did not make the trip to the Chadian capital in due to the coronavirus epidemic.

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Emmanuel Macron also said he wanted, over time, an evolution of the French military presence in the Sahel and an exit from an external operation logic.


Video: G5 Sahel: what strategy to win the fight against the jihadists? (Dailymotion)

On January 19, during his wishes to the armies, he opened the door to a reduction in the French military personnel deployed in the Sahel, without however specifying the extent or the timetable.

The Barkhane force which fights jihadist groups mainly in Mali and Niger currently has 5,100 soldiers, 600 of whom were sent as reinforcements a year ago after the Pau summit bringing together the French president and his allies of the "G5 Sahel".

The hypothesis of a withdrawal of at least 600 soldiers had been mentioned for several weeks by military sources, after the "severe blows" inflicted in recent months on groups linked to Al Qaeda and the Islamic State in the region known as "three borders" or Liptako-Gourma, which covers part of Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

G5 Sahel summit: what future for Operation Barkhane?

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In addition to continuing large-scale military operations in this area, despite the coup d'état last summer in Mali, the French army eliminated several jihadist leaders, including the historic emir of Al Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (Aqmi) Abdelmalek Droukdel in June and the head of the group's military wing in November.

Paris obtained confirmation last year of continued American engagement and increased support from its European partners, with the start of Operation Takuba bringing together special forces from several countries, and the expansion of the mandate of EUTM, the mission responsible for training African armies, to which Germany and Spain will notably provide additional troops.

(Tangi Salaün and Claude Chendjou, edited by Jean-Michel Bélot)

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