French President in Mali for talks

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) talks to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita as he arrives in Mali on Sunday.

French President Emmanuel Macron is in Mali to consolidate Western backing for a regional anti-jihadist force.

France has been urging greater support for the Sahel region amid mounting insecurity.

French support for the force mainly in equipment is expected to be announced at the summit.

Based in central Mali, the 5,000-strong G5 Sahel force seeks to bolster the 12,000 UN peacekeepers and France’s 4,000-strong military operation in the region.

Macron is expected to make the case for ‘extra backing from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium and the United States, which already has a drone base in Niger, beyond a pledge of 50 million euros by the European Union.’

The force reportedly requires at least 400 million euros

Late in June, Chadian president Idriss Deby said his troops cannot serve simultaneously in high numbers in the UN peacekeeping mission and also in the new force for budgetary reasons.

Chad’s military is widely viewed as the strongest of the five Sahel nations.

africanews./Mercy Chukwudiebere