Mali leader cautions of long fight vs. terror

Macron Cabinet reflects left, right and centre

French President Emmanuel Macron poses with French troops during his visit to the France's Barkhane counter-terrorism operation in Africa's Sahel region in Gao, northern Mali, 19 May 2017.

"I pray that God support you so that your country, faithful to the rich diversity of its moral traditions and its spiritual heritage marked also by the Christian tradition, may always endeavor to build a more just and fraternal society", the pope wrote in a telegram message, according to Catholic News Agency.

The Kremlin said the two leaders have "agreed to work jointly on acute global and regional issues, including the fight against terrorism".

France's new president and prime minister have the lowest public confidence levels for French leaders starting their terms in at least the last 20 years, a poll found yesterday.

The operation comprises around 4,000 soldiers who are deployed in five countries - Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso - all of which are menaced by the jihadist threat across porous borders.

The French leader says he will discuss defense and security issues with Trump during a working lunch at a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit in Brussels on Thursday.

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — France's new president has chosen the West African nation of Mali for his first official visit outside Europe. Why?

French President Emmanuel Macron has gathered his newly-named government for his first Cabinet meeting - an assembly that looks significantly different than its predecessors.

"My wish is for us to accelerate" the deal's implementation, Macron said at a press conference, describing the so-called Algiers Accord as the top priority to ensure Mali's security.

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Macron's early trip to Mali fulfilled a campaign promise, underlining the importance he places on combating militants in the Sahel whom he said could threaten Europe.

France has led global counter-terrorism efforts in largely francophone West Africa, a role that the US military has recognized and supported. At a meeting with the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, in Berlin, both went further than expected in saying they would be prepared to look at changing European Union treaties in order to allow further integration of the eurozone.

New President of France, Emmanuel Macron on Friday said its country would continue in the fight against "Islamist terrorists" in Mali, during a short visit to the country. He said Merkel backs the idea.

NAN reports that Macron's trip to Mali is the first trip as commander-in-chief.

He is due to speak with Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita during his short visit.

France has suffered multiple attacks by Islamist militants in the past two years losing 230 civilians and remains in a state of emergency.

France's new president also reaffirmed his commitment to helping the West African country, where French soldiers have been facing extremists since 2013.

French Ambassador to Israel Helene Le Gal tweeted Monday that 96.3 percent of French Israelis who cast their ballots in the cities of Tel Aviv, Netanya, Haifa, Ashdod, Eilat and Be'er Sheva opted for Macron.

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