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Macron arrives in Mali for military review
20 May 2017, 09:36 | Terri Saunders
Macron arrives in Mali for military review
New French President Emmanuel Macron has urged the regional countries to make joint efforts to eliminate terrorism.
On the eve of the election, pro-Europe centrist Emmanuel Macron of the En Marche party-who went on to win the presidential race with 64 percent of the vote, defeating far-right populist Marine Le Pen of the National Front party-said unilateral recognition of a Palestinian state would create instability and damage France's relationship with Israel.
He said he would also seek to strengthen cooperation with European nations, particularly Germany, which is the biggest contributor to the UN force in Mali, also known as MINUSMA.
They also pledged to work together on current global and regional issues, especially underlining the importance of their continued cooperation on resolving Ukraine's internal conflict, it said.
New French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian, right, and new Deputy Minister in charge of European Affairs Marielle de Sarnez arrive for the first weekly cabinet meeting under new French President Emmanuel Macron, Thursday, .
Over 4,000 French, UN, and Malian troops are stationed in five nations in the Sahel in West Africa, Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania, in France's Operation Barkhane created to crack down on jihadists.
The Kremlin says the leaders of Russian Federation and France have discussed possible cooperation on global issues, including the fight against terrorism.
Macron's choice of Mali for his first trip as commander-in-chief since his election on May 7 fulfilled a campaign promise to visit French troops fighting Islamist militants.
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Presidential spokesman Sylvain Fort said that "in one or two cases" journalists had been contacted directly and offered some of the limited places available to travel with Macron to Mali on Friday.
France has led global counter-terrorism efforts in largely francophone West Africa, a role that the US military has recognized and supported.
France intervened in its former colony in January 2013 to drive out al-Qaeda-linked groups that hijacked a rebellion in 2012 by ethnic Tuaregs and attempted to take control of the central government in Bamako.
Macron said he had discussed the security situation in Mali with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during his visit to Berlin earlier this week. Netanyahu said Israel and France both face the threat of "radical Islamic terror", and expressed confidence the "longtime allies" would "continue to deepen" relations.
Macron, a newcomer to worldwide diplomacy, put counter-terrorism at the top of his security priorities during the election campaign, vowing to strengthen support for West African allies.
The eastern city Macron visited, Gao, is home of the permanent French military base in Mali, with 1,600 troops.
He also will have lunch with troops, tour a surgical unit, have a briefing on military operations and give a speech to French forces.
Visiting French troops fighting jihadists in West Africa, Macron has vowed that France will be unyielding.
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