No ‘immediate’ reduction of France’s Sahel force, says Macron, france24.com

France has no immediate plans to adjust its military presence in Africa’s Sahel region, and any changes will depend on other countries contributing troops, President Emmanuel Macron told a news conference on Tuesday after a summit on the region.

 Speaking after a virtual summit of G5 Sahel countries, Macron added there was an increased willingness from other European countries to take part in the Takuba military force in Sahel.

“Significant changes will undoubtedly be made to our military system in the Sahel in due course, but they will not take place immediately,” Macron said. “It would be paradoxical to weaken our deployment at a time when we have a political and military alignment that enables us to reach our goals,” he said.

France 24’s international affairs editor Marc Perelman said that Macron’s announcement to maintain French troop numbers marks a change in strategy, given that last month he spoke of possibly “adjusting” France’s military presence. […]

France, the region’s former colonial power, is searching for an exit strategy after years of military intervention against Islamist militants. Its counter-insurgency operation in the Sahel has cost billions and seen 55 French soldiers killed, yet violence is persisting with signs it is spreading to coastal West Africa. […]

France has tried to lean on its EU allies to commit more troops to the region. But Germany on Tuesday rejected France’s requests to send more soldiers. “Germany is participating with many troops in both international missions in Sahel, in (the European training mission) EUTM as well as (the UN mission) Minusma,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.

“At the moment, we don’t intend to engage in other missions beyond that but rather focus on what we are doing already,” he added. Läs artikel