Macron to visit French troops in Mali19/05/17Defence
France’s new president, Emmanuel Macron, is to travel to Mali, West Africa, to visit French troops stationed there.
French troops have been fighting Islamic militants in northern Mali since 2013, and there are currently some 4,000 fighters stationed there. Macron’s new foreign minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, was defence minister when the intervention in Mali was launched, and is expected to continue the French-led mission against armed groups in the Sahel, the BBC reports.
The trip will be Macron’s second foreign trip since taking office – after a visit to Berlin, Germany, to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday – and is expected to continue France’s strong influence in its former colonies. Macron chose military transport to deliver him to his inauguration, and his priorities in his first week as president suggest that the military will be a key theme of his term in office.