“France is not intended to stay in Mali for the long term”, said Emmanuel Macron, Friday, October 8, when he was arrested by young Africans demanding the departure of the French army from the Sahel.

“I think we are not meant to stay, that’s why we are closing bases. In Tessalit or Kidal (northern Mali), our job is not to have military bases. The Malian state must first of all come back “, developed the Head of State, during a round table with young Africans at the Africa-France summit in Montpellier (Hérault).

What I want is that we withdraw the military bases as quickly as possible, but that supposes a return of a strong State and investment projects, so that the young people do not turn around, as soon as the groups terrorists return, to the worst.

Emmanuel Macron

during the Africa-France summit

“France is only there to fight terrorism, not to support this or that regime”, he added, recalling that the French army has intervened since 2013 in Mali at the request of the Malian government.

Paris undertook in June to reorganize its military system in the Sahel, notably by leaving the northernmost bases of Mali (Kidal, Timbuktu and Tessalit) and by planning to reduce its troops in the region to 2,500-3,000 troops. here in 2023, compared to more than 5,000 today.

The French president was talking to several young Africans, including Senegalese blogger Cheikh Fall, who told him: “Stop cooperating and collaborating with these dictator presidents. And plan a gradual and definitive withdrawal from your military bases in Africa”.

The French president also responded to the many accusations made by young people about France’s support for “dictators” Africans who “tamper with the Constitution” to stay in power. The young people mentioned Chad, Guinea and Côte d’Ivoire. In each of these countries, defended Emmanuel Macron, France has reduced its investment projects from government to government to go more through projects with civil society.

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