Macron calls on Germany, EU to step up Africa military presence
22 Mai, 2017, 15:38 | Author: Claudine Rigal
Here's a look at Emmanuel Macron's trip on Friday to France's largest overseas military operation - in a country where multiple extremist groups pose a growing danger to the region.
French President Emmanuel Macron wears a Paris 2024 pin and waves goodbye after a meeting with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Evaluation Commission at the Elysee Place in Paris, France May 16, 2017.
Macron and conservative Merkel agreed in talks on Monday to draw up a roadmap to deep European Union integration.
He also met with European Council President Donald Tusk on Wednesday in Paris.
Mr Macron - accompanied by Defence Minister Sylvie Goulard and her predecessor, now Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian - is due to review some of the 4,000 anti-insurgent troops France has deployed in the region. Emmanuel Macron has done the diplomacy with Angela Merkel, the internal politics with his cabinet and now he's fulfilling the role of commander-in-chief, visiting French troops in Mali.
However, 77 percent of the supporters of the right-wing National Frond party, the leader of which, Marine Le Pen, was Macron's rival during the run-off, said they were not satisfied with the performance of the new French president. A French-led military intervention pushed the extremists from their strongholds in 2013, but the fighters continue to target Malian and other military assets with suicide bombings, improvised explosives and kidnappings.
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Aside, Mali, the 3,000-strong force is fighting insurgents in the entire Sahel region comprising Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mauritania. The attack occurred just days after former French President Francois Hollande had visited the base, and was claimed by al-Qaeda-linked extremist group, al-Mourabitoun.
Gao, the home of France's permanent military base, was hit by a devastating bomb attack in January that killed more than 75 people.
The victims were soldiers and former fighters trying to stabilise the region after a 2015 agreement with the government.
"I don't think Macron's arrival will change anything to our daily life", Ousmane Maiga, a resident of Gao, told The Associated Press.
The survey was conducted among 973 French citizens on May 19 - 20. "We must win the war and win the peace at the same time".
Another resident, Mohamed Gaiga, said he wants Macron "to put an end to the massacre of Malians".
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There were no promises of new financial investment or announcements of increased United States military presence in the region. He heralded the ambitions of the region's youth and warned that the scourge of extremism could tarnish their future.
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