Published on : 11/06/2021 – 07:27
President Macron wants ” transformer »In depth the French military presence in the Sahel. This is what he explained, Thursday, June 10, during a press conference. Concretely, this means a reduction of the French workforce in the region, and ” the end of Operation Barkhane as an external operation », For the benefit of an international alliance associating States of the region and Europeans. Explanations.
« The form of our presence “In the Sahel” is no longer adapted to the reality of the fights », Declared President Macron. Concretely, the announcement made Thursday evening does not mean that France is withdrawing from the region, but that it will reduce its workforce.
Emmanuel Macron spoke of ” several hundred soldiers Against more than 5,000 today. He also mentioned the closing of certain bases of the French army, without specifying which ones. But it is above all the framework of this French presence that will evolve. The idea is to focus exclusively on the fight against terrorism and no longer to secure large areas where the states concerned are struggling to regain a foothold.
And to do so within an international alliance. An alliance structured around the European force Takouba, launched in March 2020, and ” called to ramp up “, Said Emmanuel Macron. France will remain the backbone of this force with which other African and international armies will be associated.
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Why are you announcing such changes today? “ There is a phenomenon of wear “, Estimated the president, and” a general feeling that we are losing track of what we are here for “. A decision motivated also and above all by the choices of certain Sahelian leaders. “ I am obliged to note that, in several States of the region, there has not been a re-engagement of decision-makers to bring the State and the administration back to the areas that have been freed from terrorism. “, Declared Emmanuel Macron, before adding:” It is not the role of France to replace the States in perpetuity ».
France does not have a vocation to stay forever in the Sahel by its force – it is known from the beginning – and obviously, it is the Africans who have for vocation to ensure the security of the African countries.
Jean-Yves Le Drian, French Minister of Foreign Affairs
In the entourage of the French Head of State, one of his relatives deciphers: “ A military operation that lasts becomes, whether we like it or not, accountable for the failures of the states of the region over which we have no control, but for which we find ourselves taking responsibility ».
If these announcements seemed to take everyone by surprise, at the Elysee Palace we are assured that everything that was said Thursday had clearly been exposed at the beginning of the year by Emmanuel Macron to his Sahelian counterparts. It should be noted that these announcements occur in a particular context in France: the presidential election takes place in ten months. However, this Barkhane operation seemed more and more unpopular in France as evidenced by a survey published at the beginning of the year.
But there is, at this stage, no more precision or timetable. This announcement was made during a press conference devoted to various topics. This new device should be on the menu of the next European Council, scheduled for June 24.
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