- Title: Macron arrives in Ivory Coast to meet with French soldiers deployed in Sahel
- Date: 20th December 2019
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (French) IVORIAN TRADITIONAL CHIEF OF THE ANOUMANBO VILLAGE, NICODEM AKADJE, SAYING: "For our country of the Ivory Coast, the country needs to be reconciled and united so as to move forward in a peaceful way. Because there can be no development in a country without peace."
- Embargoed: 3rd January 2020 18:48
- Keywords: Emmanuel Macron French army French troops Ivory Coast Mali Sahel
- Location: ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST
- City: ABIDJAN, IVORY COAST
- Country: France
- Topics: Conflicts/War/Peace
- Reuters ID: LVA005BAS4W93
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Friday (December 20) for a two-day visit to meet with French troops posted in the region and with those returning from deployment in the Sahel where 13 soldiers lost their lives in Mali in late November.
Accompanied by his wife Brigitte, Macron was greeted at the airport by Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara and his wife before meeting government ministers, local officials and traditional chiefs.
Later in the evening, Macron will have dinner with 1,000 French troops at the military base in Port-Bouet, in keeping with tradition of spending the Christmas season with troops abroad.
France, a former colonial power, is the only Western country with a significant military presence waging counter-insurgency operations in Mali and the wider Sahel region south of the Sahara desert.
Macron and Ouattara will visit an International Counter-Terrorism Academy launched by the two countries near Abidjan in October 2018.
Macron will pay tribute to fallen French soldiers on Sunday before flying to Niger.
After the death of the 13 soldiers, Macron ordered the military to review its operations against Islamist militants in West Africa and pressed his allies to do more.
The leaders of five Sahel nations are due to attend a summit in Paris on January 13.
(Production: Clotaire Achi, Media Coulibaly and Pascale Antonie)
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