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France warns W. Africa instability risks reversing gains against jihadists ahead of G5 Sahel summit

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Issued on: 30/06/2020 – 07:31Modified: 30/06/2020 – 07:31

Mali and Burkina Faso must guarantee at a summit this week that their domestic political problems do not reverse fragile military successes against Islamist militants in the Sahel region, a French presidential source said on Monday.

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Former colonial power France has deployed thousands of soldiers in the arid region south of the Sahara desert since 2013, and now has 5,100 troops there. But attacks by groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State have been on the rise.

Leaders of the G5 Sahel states of Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Niger and Mauritania will meet French President Emmanuel Macron and Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez in Nouakchott on Tuesday to assess recent military victories and plan next steps.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who is set to confirm a contribution to a special forces unit in the Sahel, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will also take part by video call.

But there are fears that recent advances may be derailed amid political instability in the Sahel.

“All the progress thats been made is fragile and can be put into question if the political momentum does not follow,” the French official said ahead of a summit.

“We see that in the Burkina and Mali context…So (whats at) stake is to put in guarantees so that these electoral contexts dont weaken the gains that haveRead More – Source

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