The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has asked West African leaders to travel to Paris for immediate talks in the wake of the killing of 13 French soldiers in Mali last week.
Macron, who is currently at the NATO summit in England, issued a condemnation of the regional leaders, who he said sometimes hold anti-French sentiments.
“I can’t, nor do I want French soldiers on the ground while there is anti-French sentiment that is sometimes held by the leader,” Bloomberg quotes the French president as saying.
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The French soldiers died when the two helicopters on which they were flying on the night of November 26, collided. The troops were looking to touch base with other forces fighting Islamic fundamentalists in northern Mali.
The five countries whose leaders have been recipients of French military support over the years in light of threats by religious militants and separatists rebels.
France has thousands of soldiers stationed in West Africa and the Sahel region. This is part of more than $665 million in military support for the region, every year.
The sub-region is one of the most unstable, with UN reports calling for attention to humanitarian challenges as well.