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Macron tough in Mali

Emmanuel Macron reviews the troops (Credit: @EmmanuelMacron)

(B2) If there is a chief of the armies, it is Emmanuel Macron. The French president hammered it during his visit to Operation Barkhane in Mali, his first visit abroad (outside Berlin) was for the troops engaged in the Sahel. And its positioning is intended to be robust. " One cannot show any weakness whatsoever with regard to terrorist movements »

A protective but demanding warlord

“You are our sentinels, our bulwark against the excesses of terrorism and fanaticism. Here you are the vanguard of the Republic said the president, in Gao, this Friday, May 19. A speech of encouragement to the troops but also a whole gesture to show that he has the shoulders of a warlord and establish his authority. " I will protect the military establishment. I will guide her in our interventions. My trust in you is complete. I will be a demanding, lucid, always present leader for our armies. I won't risk your lives for nothing. » The images speak for themselves: low-altitude flight, headphones on, the military base of the French forces, speech with the dessert in the background, salute and selfies with the soldiers, shared meal at the mess

French commitment to the Sahel continues

“Operation Barkhane will not stop until terrorism is eradicated in the Sahelian region. At the military level 'nWe will be intractable. We need to continue and increase our commitment. [He] will remain high intensity here in the Sahel as in other operations. »  He also emphasized "the continuum" between the action of Barkhane and the development “to dry up the reasons for terrorism”. Emmanuel Macron wants to go fast. He has already announced the release of 470 million euros in aid for the region. It remains to be determined what consequences this may have for Operation Barkhane. For now, explained to the World, Jean-Yves Le Drian, now Minister of Foreign Affairs, "I didn't present him with any options, I let the president get an idea of ​​the situation".

“Everything that is done on the ground would be ephemeral if we were not determined to invest in infrastructure or education. I want to act quickly, strongly and decisively on the political and military level, and act in the long term on the development level. Terrorists thrive on misery. We have long-term development work to do. »

Europeans need to get more involved

In the Sahel, the Europeans arrived in " the continuity of efforts French, for Emmanuel Macron. While he hailed "the courageous political decisions" of the Netherlands and Sweden, which " showed the way and Germany – which responded present and demonstrates today its sense of responsibility and its spirit of solidarity” – he wishes a “ greater involvement of Europeans in the military engagement in the Sahel. Especially from Germany. " I hope that the German commitment can be intensified. » A question "long-discussed with Chancellor Angela Merkel during her final talks. “We have decided to further strengthen our cooperation with a view to helping the countries of the region. “It is here a question of” month "because you must first" get out of the cycle of violence and create the conditions for lasting peace in Mali ».

Make peace "without arguing"

« If we want to succeed in the Sahel, we must at the same time win the war and win the peace. But this peace is in the hands of the Malians. Emmanuel Macron expressed some impatience. To his Malian counterpart, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, who came to welcome him, he asked for a real effort to " accelerate " Implementation " comprehensive, fast and consistent of the Algiers peace accords. " We know where the difficulties are and what we have to do. Let's do it without hesitation. "To the Malians of" take – they too – their responsibilities ". A " increased requirement » which he extends to « Sahel countries and Algeria ». “I will not send our soldiers to be killed if all the governments responsible for the situation locally do not take full responsibility. » NB: In addition to the speech, there is the symbolism of this visit, dedicated to the French forces and avoiding any passage through Bamako. Additional pressure element.

Call for the strengthening of the G5 Sahel

Emmanuel Macron also announced that he would participate " in the next weeks “at a meeting of the G5 Sahel on the fight against jihadist groups operating in particular in Mali, and that France would strengthen its commitment in this respect” in very strong connection with the regional organization. " Our action must enable development, which helps the States of the Sahel to live better in order to dry up the reasons for terrorism. There is a long way to go: it presupposes a political, diplomatic roadmap. And that's what he wants to talk "frankly" with the heads of state in the region.

(Leonor Hubaut)

Download theintervention Emmanuel Macron

Read also: The Dutch and Germans on a “tourist” mission in Mali?

Nicolas Gros Verheyde

Chief editor of the B2 site. Graduated in European law from the University of Paris I Pantheon Sorbonne and listener to the 65th session of the IHEDN (Institut des Hautes Etudes de la Défense Nationale. Journalist since 1989, founded B2 - Bruxelles2 in 2008. EU/NATO correspondent in Brussels for Sud-Ouest (previously West-France and France-Soir).