Macron in Mali to drum up support for West African military force


French President, Emmanuel Macron is in Mali, to throw his weight behind his country’s proposal for a West African force in Mali.

The landlocked West African country is currently hosting a heads of state summit for Sahel nations.

The summit, known as The G5 Sahel, brings together heads of states from Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mauritania and the host, Mali.

France has presented a proposal to the United Nations Security Council, for the deployment of thousands of troops from Sahel countries in Mali, to counter militancy and human traffickers.

This, it is hoped, will also present France with an opportunity to withdraw her 4,000 strong troops from Mali, who were deployed to counter jihadists four years ago.

The proposal is however already facing headwinds, with the U.S. indicating that it doesn’t support the proposal.

Macron’s visit comes as al-Qaeda’s Mali branch released a proof-of-life video of six foreign hostages, including a French woman who was abducted in late 2016 in the northern Malian town of Gao.

A major goal at Sunday’s meeting will be to find the money necessary to support the new force, which will operate in the region along with a 12,000-strong UN peacekeeping mission in Mali.