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France wants a 'rethink' of military strategy in Africa

Emmanuel Macron   -  
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THOMAS PADILLA/Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


French President Emmanuel Macron announced plans to reshape the country's armies on the eve of Bastille Day and its traditional military parade down the Champs-Elysées.

At a reception on Wednesday with the army's high command, Macron said he wanted to make changes to the structure, the procedures and the chain of command by the first half of 2023.

The operational overhaul is set to have an impact notably on the country's involvement in the Sahel region in the wake of France's ongoing withdrawal from Mali.

"It's a strategic necessity because we need deployments that are less entrenched and less exposed, to build a lasting and closer cooperation with African armies and rebuild our training capabilities", Macron told a crowd of ministers and senior officers.

The Mali deployment has been fraught with problems for France. Out of the 53 French soldiers killed serving in West Africa, 48 of them died in Mali. Also, recent coups in Mali, Chad and Burkina Faso have weakened French alliances and emboldened jihadists who control large swathes of the region.

France is celebrating its national holiday, Thursday, July 14, with thousands of French and allied troops expected to march down the Champs-Elysées.

Soldiers from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary are to take part in the parade in a show of unity between European allies in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

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