The Latest: Macron Seeks More German Support In Mali

By AP

Published May 19th, 2017

The Latest: Macron Seeks More German Support In Mali

GAO, Mali (AP) — The Latest on French president's first official trip outside Europe (all times local):

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11:55 a.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron is vowing to maintain France's military operations in Mali and "be intractable" with extremist groups in West Africa. He is also asking Germany to provide more support to French-led efforts to eradicate them.

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. He said Merkel backs the idea.

Macron added that the terror threat in West Africa is "clearly a risk for Europe."

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10:45 a.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron has kicked off his visit to Mali, his first official trip outside Europe since his May 7 election.

Images shown on French TV showed Macron disembarking at an air base in the eastern city of Gao. He was greeted by Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and ranks of troops.

Macron is visiting France's largest overseas military mission and following up on his campaign promise that fighting terror would be a top priority.

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9:05 a.m.

French President Emmanuel Macron will kick off his Mali visit by holding talks with Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. The rest of his day there Friday will be devoted almost entirely to familiarizing himself with French troops who are combating West African extremist groups.

Macron's schedule includes a closed door-briefing by commanders of Operation Barkhane. It is France's largest overseas military mission, with more than 4,000 soldiers in Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

He also will have lunch with troops, tour a surgical unit, have a briefing on military operations and give a speech to French forces.

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8:00 a.m.

On his first official trip outside Europe, new French President Emmanuel Macron is highlighting his determination to crush extremism with a scheduled visit to French-led military forces combating jihadist groups in West Africa.

During Friday's trip to Mali, Macron will be briefed on the inner workings of Operation Barkhane. It is France's largest overseas military mission, with more than 4,000 soldiers in Mali, Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania. He is expected to visit a French base in the eastern city of Gao.

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.

Most of the West African extremist groups France is combating trace their origins to al-Qaida's North Africa branch.

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