Macron calls for countries' support in fighting extremism
- Author: Leroy Wright May 20, 2017,
May 20, 2017, 22:16
French President Emmanuel Macron arrives to lay a wreath on the unknown Soldier's tomb on May 14, 2017.
France's new President Emmanuel Macron is vowing to tackle the root of terrorism by promoting development cooperation in Mali.
He also met European Council President Donald Tusk over lunch on Wednesday in Paris, saying he said to wanted to start working immediately on the overhaul of the bloc. Macron said he hopes Germany will continue to support the French and United Nations mission in West Africa, even if they will not intervene directly.
"My desire in the framework of our military involvement in Africa is to do even more with Europe, more with Germany, but in a pragmatic manner", Macron told reporters during a visit to a French military base in the northern town of Gao.
The German chancellor said the two countries need each other for the European Union to be healthy.
Stationed in Mali since July 2013, MINUSMA has just over 12,000 military and police personnel working on what is considered the UN's most unsafe active peacekeeping deployment.
France has led global counter-terrorism efforts in largely francophone West Africa, a role that the US military has recognized and supported.
Macron also promised French troops: "I won't risk your lives for nothing. but my determination when in action will be total". The groups were quickly pushed from strongholds but remain a deadly threat.
Most of the West African extremist groups France is fighting trace their origins to al Qaida's North Africa branch.
At a news conference with visiting French President Emmanuel Macron, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita said isn't possible to say when the conflict might end but added: "We are progressing, of that you can be certain". In January, a suicide attack on a Mali army camp killed more than 75 people.
Over 4,000 French, UN, and Malian troops are stationed in five nations in the Sahel in West Africa, Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania, in France's Operation Barkhane created to crack down on jihadists.
After sending troops to Mali, France has since spread some 4,000 soldiers across the region to hunt down Islamists, while UN' peacekeepers have been deployed to ensure Mali's stability. The attack was a major blow to peace efforts in northern Mali, where rival groups have been vying for control or outright independence.
In his inaugural speech, Macron called on France to rise from its decline and to overcome the factions in their society.