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France’s Withdrawal in the Sahel will Be Done in Phases

French President Emmanuel Macron cautioned on Tuesday against a rapid withdrawing of forces fighting Islamist insurgents in the Sahel region. France won’t change the number of troops deployed in the region “in the coming months”, Macron said after two days of talks with the leaders of Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso in N’Djamena, Chad. Macron joined the discussions remotely because of the coronavirus pandemic. “Rushing a French withdrawal, which is one of the options I have reviewed, would be a mistake,” Macron said. The summit follows one in January 2020 in the southern French city of Pau, which resulted in the governments of the region promising to take on more responsibility and France increasing its deployment by 600 soldiers to 5,100.