President Emmanuel Macron announced that he invited the presidents of the five countries of the region on December 16th to Pau in the south of France. His objective: that they clarify their position on the French presence at a time when anti-French sentiment is growing in several Sahelian countries.
Macron made the statement at the end of the NATO summit this afternoon in London.
"I expect them to clarify and formalize their demand for France and the international community. Do they wish our presence? Do they need us? I want clear and confident answers to these questions."
Nine days after the death of 13 French soldiers in Mali, it is a message of rare firmness Wednesday afternoon from Emmanuel Macron to his Sahelian counterparts. From London, the French president called for each of them to clarify their positions regarding the French presence.
"They owe us the clarity and the fact that they ask us to be there, and that they assume it. Because France is not there with imperialist neo-colonial aims or economic ends. We are here for the collective security of the region and ours. This framework must be clear and assumed by everyone.
"I can't and don't want to have French troops on the ground anywhere in the Sahel when there is ambiguity towards anti-French movements and sometimes comments from politicians," Macron said.