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Vol 58 No 2

Published 20th January 2017

Paris sends Sahel signal

With US policy on Africa still a cipher and the UK in retreat from Europe, France reaffirms its security commitments in the region

More than 30 African leaders meet today (13 January) in Bamako, marking President François Hollande's farewell to the continent and a restatement of France's commitment to fight jihadism in the region. Coming less than a month after the visit to Mali and Niger of François Fillon, the centre-right candidate thought most likely to succeed Hollande to the French presidency, France was making a very public signal of its firmness to African francophone leaders. With France itself having suffered so much at the hands of jihadists, domestic voices sceptical of fighting them abroad are less strident. Paris will also have wanted to reassure the government of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta about whose leadership serious questions about being posed.

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