Emmanuel Macron announced on Thursday that he is ready to review « all the strategic options » of France in the Sahel and has asked his allies a « greater involvement » against « terrorism » in the region, after receiving the Secretary General from NATO Jens Stoltenberg.
In the Sahel, « France is involved and acts on behalf of all. Our mission there is important. Nevertheless the context that we are living in the Sahel leads us today to look at all the strategic options « , declared the French president, three days after the accidental death of 13 French soldiers during combat operations in the south of Mali.
« In the coming weeks, an in-depth work will be requested from the government and our armies to look at the modalities of our interventions. All options are open. In this context, greater involvement of allies would be quite beneficial, « he said, a week before a NATO summit in London.
This appeal is primarily for Europeans, said the Elysee.
« To proclaim one’s commitment to collective security is not enough. A real alliance, these are acts, not words, « added Emmanuel Macron.
Since August 2014, the French operation Barkhane has mobilized 4,500 soldiers in the Sahel-Saharan strip, a vast area like Europe, in support of the national armies that are fighting jihadists affiliated with the Islamic State (IS) group or al-Qaeda.
Thirteen French soldiers of the Barkhane force died Monday night in Mali in the collision of two helicopters during a combat operation against jihadists.