No compromise in fight against Mali militants, says Macron


The Kremlin confirmed the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin in France on may 29, where he will meet with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. France has about 4,000 soldiers who are deployed in five West African countries - Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso - all of which are battling Islamist extremism.

At a news conference during his visit Friday to a military base in Mali, Macron said he spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this week about getting more logistical support for the French-led military mission in West Africa.

This is Mr Macron's second foreign trip as president.

In January, Germany's cabinet approved the deployment of eight helicopters and 350 extra soldiers to Mali as part of the United Nations peacekeeping mission, bringing total German strength there to around 1,000 soldiers.

Macron also said that he had spoken with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika about regional security on Thursday by telephone.

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France's new President Emmanuel Macron is vowing to tackle the root of terrorism by promoting development cooperation in Mali.

Investing in infrastructure, education and health, Macron said, all of which have suffered badly from the Malian state's near absence in large swathes of its northern territory, was the "best antidote" to jihad.

Mr Macron repeatedly pledged ahead of his May 7 election that fighting terror would be his priority, after multiple attacks in France since 2015 that killed more than 230 people.

"The road is long. but we are going forward and we will succeed", Keita said.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire, named last week, is joining European Union finance ministers for talks Monday and Tuesday expected to focus on Greece's debt problems.

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French soldiers have been fighting Islamic militants in the north of the former French colony since 2013.

The French election was held amid concern over meddling by Russian Federation following USA intelligence officials' conclusion that Putin ordered a hacking and propaganda campaign to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election.

Another resident, Mohamed Gaiga, said he wants Macron "to put an end to the massacre of Malians".

Associated Press writers Sylvie Corbet and John Leicester in Paris and Baba Ahmed in Bamako, Mali contributed.

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