2470

France to begin Mali troop withdrawal in March

French foreign minister Laurent Fabius says the number of French troops in Mali could be reduced in March
AFP Mail Me
Comment E-mail Print Share
First Published: Wed, Feb 06 2013. 12 59 PM IST
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius called the first phase of the operation ‘very effective in blocking the terrorist groups and retaking cities’ in the north. Photo: AFP
French foreign minister Laurent Fabius called the first phase of the operation ‘very effective in blocking the terrorist groups and retaking cities’ in the north. Photo: AFP
Paris: France expects to begin withdrawing its soldiers from Mali “starting in March, if all goes as planned”, French foreign minister Laurent Fabius said in a newspaper interview to be published Wednesday.
“I think that starting in March, if all goes as planned, the number of French troops could be reduced,” Fabius told the daily Metro. Nearly 4,000 French soldiers are currently deployed in Mali in an operation against Islamist militants.
“France does not want to remain permanently in Mali. It is the Africans and the Malians themselves who must guarantee security, the territorial integrity and sovereignty of the country,” Fabius said.
“That is why we are going to, progressively, pass the baton to AFISMA (the African military mission to Mali). We ourselves are going to continue to act in the north where there remain terrorist pockets,” he added.
Fabius called the first phase of the operation “very effective in blocking the terrorist groups and retaking cities” in the north.
“The narco-terrorist groups have been stopped...(but) we have to remain on our guard in Mali as in the neighbouring countries...the risk is still there,” he said.
France launched a military intervention in Mali on 11 January to push back an advance towards the capital Bamako by Islamist fighters who last year seized control of large swathes of the north of the country.
Comment E-mail Print Share
First Published: Wed, Feb 06 2013. 12 59 PM IST
blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Wed, Aug 27 2014. 05 55 PM
  • Wed, Aug 20 2014. 07 26 PM
ALSO READ close

Iran nuclear talks with world powers to resume in September

Subscribe |  Contact Us  |  mint Code  |  Privacy policy  |  Terms of Use  |  Advertising  |  Mint Apps  |  About HT Media  |  Jobs
Contact Us
Copyright © 2014 HT Media All Rights Reserved