France’s Le Drian: We must not let the guard down in Mali

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Paris, France - December 11: Jean-Yves Le Drian, Foreign Minister of France, gives a press conference on December 11, 2018 in Paris, France. Maas is on a day trip to France to hold political talks with members of the government. (Photo by Inga Kjer/Photothek via Getty Images)
Paris, France – December 11: Jean-Yves Le Drian, Foreign Minister of France, gives a press conference on December 11, 2018 in Paris, France. Maas is on a day trip to France to hold political talks with members of the government. (Photo by Inga Kjer/Photothek via Getty Images)

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Sunday France will continue with its military operations in Mali where two French soldiers were killed on Saturday, Reuters reported.

“There is no question of letting down the guard…We are making progress in Mali where we are fighting to insure our security and that other countries,” Le Drian told France Inter radio.

According to the Reuters report, two French soldiers were killed and a third was seriously injured while on an operation in Mali on Saturday when an improvised explosive device destroyed their armored vehicle.

The soldiers were part of France’s Barkhane military operations in Mali against Islamic fighters.

Le Drian echoed President Emmanuel Macron’s call on Saturday for setting up a transition back to civilian rule in Mali.

International powers fear the ousting of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in a military coup on Aug. 18 could further destabilise the West African nation and undermine the fight against insurgents linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State in the wider Sahel region.

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