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France will begin to close bases in northern Mali by the end of the year, Emmanuel Macron announced on Friday, specifying that in the long term, the French military presence would be limited to a contingent of 2,500 to 3,000 men.
“From the next few weeks”, France will begin the reconfiguration of its military engagement in the Sahel, announced Emmanuel Macron, Friday July 9, specifying that several military bases were going to close in Mali before the end of the year, at the end of discussions with G5 Sahel leaders.
The closure of the French rights-of-way of Kidal, Tessalit and Timbuktu, in northern Mali, will be “completed by the beginning of the year 2022”, the French president said during a joint press conference in Paris with the new Nigerien president Mohamed Bazoum, whose country is part of the G5 Sahel (with Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso and Chad).
The strength of Operation Barkhane, which currently stands at around 5,100 men, will not decrease in the coming months, but the objective is to bring “to term” the French device in the region “between 2,500 and 3,000 men, “said the head of state.
French troops command transferred from Gao to Niamey
At the same time, the operational command of the French forces will be gradually transferred from the Malian headquarters of the Barkhane force to Gao, in Niamey, the capital of Niger, from where the action of the European task force Takuba “will be coordinated in particular. enlarged perimeter “. “France will maintain a significant contribution within Takuba”, added the French president.
“We remain committed to the Sahel because it is requested of us by the States of the region”, he insisted after having praised an “intense work of consultation with our Sahelian, European and international partners”.
With Reuters and AFP