1000 French Troops to Stay in Mali
According to a story published in France’s Capital.fr, during his visit to Mali on Friday, French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Laurent Fabius, proposed to permanently leave a strike force of 1000 French troops in the African country, thereby enabling it to fight terrorism.
During his visit to Bamako, the head of French diplomacy also stressed the deadlines set for the withdrawal for the bulk of the French forces as well as new elections, despite the persistence of insecurity.
“The strike force”, he told a press conference after a meeting with Acting President, Malian Dioncounda Traoré, “could be supported by other forces we have at our disposal, such as the ones in Chad and in neighboring countries, so that all the work we have done to break the terrorists is not lost.”
According to Fabius, the Malian authorities like France are determined to meet the timetable that plans to reduce the number of troops involved in French operation “Serval” from 4000 currently to 2000 by July 2013, and to hold parliamentary and presidential elections on July 7 and 21.
Launched on January 11, the French intervention in Mali helped recapture northern Mali in less than a month, an area that had fallen into the hands of Islamist movements in April 2012 and threatened Bamako, the capital of Mali.
The United Nations Security Council plans on deploying a peacekeeping mission consisting of Franco-African forces in the coming month, with the objective of securing peace by July.