The French president will meet the presidents of the G5-Sahel countries in Pau, France, on December 16 for « clarifications » on the French presence in the region.
It is in a firm tone that French President Emmanuel Macron announced Wednesday, at the end of the NATO summit held in the United Kingdom, his « invitation » to the African presidents engaged in the G5-Sahel, namely Mauritania, Mali, Burkina, Niger and Chad.
He said he waited « in the very short term » for clarification on « the framework and political conditions of the intervention of France in the Sahel ».
« In the Sahel for 5 years, France has done a lot of work with several victories, » he said, adding that it is now time to « look at the situation ».
« I expect them to clarify and formalize their demand for France and the international community.Do they want our presence, do they need us? »
« I want clear and assertive answers on these issues, » he insisted.
« I can not and do not want to have French soldiers on any soil of the Sahel whatsoever while the ambiguity persists with regard to anti-French movements, sometimes carried by politicians, » he said.
He said he also expects an indispensable political work to be carried out in the Sahel countries « so that military and development work can be beneficial ».
« It is their full responsibility, especially with regard to Mali and Burkina Faso ».
Earlier, he expressed his pride that France was able to help Mauritania build an army capable of defending itself and helping it equip itself.
In Pau, on the sidelines of a « Barkhane summit » between France and the 5 Sahel countries, a tribute will be paid to a regiment that belonged to 7 of the 13 French soldiers killed in a helicopter crash on 25 November.
The French president calls for a « stronger international presence » in order to « structure a new coalition in the Sahel » with the European European countries already present.
He says he has already spoken with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.