Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Royal decree on low-cut tops

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Ukraine, The Escalation: No Stopping Putin?

Read more

FOCUS

Bangladesh: Textile workers' lives still at risk?

Read more

TALKING EUROPE

José Bové, Candidate for the EU Commission presidency, Group of the Greens

Read more

WEB NEWS

NYPD's online campaign backfires

Read more

ENCORE!

Celebrating the Bard's birthday in Britain

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yuki Tatsumi, Senior Associate of the East Asia Program, Stimson Center

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

USA: Executions halted over drugs secrecy

Read more

  • Russia orders military drills as Ukraine moves on separatists

    Read more

  • Israel halts Middle East peace talks over Hamas deal

    Read more

  • Platini: PSG in danger over Financial Fair Play rules

    Read more

  • Ségolène Royal denies banning cleavage at French ministry

    Read more

  • Afghan guard kills US doctors in Kabul hospital attack

    Read more

  • Palestinian unity deal stirs anger in Israel

    Read more

  • Video: Mayor in east Ukraine ready ‘to turn Slaviansk into battlefield’

    Read more

  • US would defend Japan in islands dispute, Obama says

    Read more

  • New far-right mayor moves to quash Paris region mosque

    Read more

  • US soldiers arrive in Poland as Ukraine crisis continues

    Read more

  • Fatah, Hamas agree to form Palestinian unity government

    Read more

  • Millions of Syrians desperately need aid, says UN

    Read more

  • Muslims in CAR pray for an escape route

    Read more

  • Madrid beat Bayern 1-0 in first leg of Champions League semis

    Read more

  • Britain's ex-PM Blair warns against spread of radical Islam

    Read more

  • Turkish PM offers condolences to descendants of Armenians killed in 1915

    Read more

  • Gay marriage, one year on: ‘French civilisation did not crumble’

    Read more

  • Colombian president reinstates firebrand Bogota mayor

    Read more

  • NYPD public relations campaign on Twitter goes awry

    Read more

  • In pictures: Violent protests erupt in Rio

    Read more

Africa

French minister of defence on surprise visit to Mali

© France24

Video by Kate Moody

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2013-03-07

French Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian arrived Thursday on a surprise visit to Mali, where he spoke to FRANCE 24’s Matthieu Mabin. Mabin has been following French troops as they track Islamists in the northern Ifoghas mountains.

French Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian arrived Thursday on a surprise visit to the mountains of northern Mali, where French troops have been tracking Islamist fighters who are thought to be holding foreign hostages.

Le Drian came to show support for the mission and pay homage to the two paratroopers recently killed in the Ifoghas mountain range. A total of four French soldiers have died since France launched its Mali operations on January 11.

"The mission is not over,” Le Drian told FRANCE 24’s Matthieu Mabin. “The combat has been carried out very well so far, but we still need to restore Mali's territorial integrity, until Mali is freed."

FRANCE 24 reports from Mali's Ifoghas mountain range

Most of northern Mali fell under Islamist control following a coup in March last year.

"After that we may be able to start pulling back and leave the mission to African troops, supported by a UN mandate," he said.

Le Drian was speaking in an impromptu interview on the desert plains at the foot of the mountains, surrounded by French troops. 

Mabin concurred that it was not yet time for France to hand over responsibility for the mission in Mali.

“It would be deceptive to imagine that African or UN troops are ready to take over and let French troops withdraw,” he said.

Mabin has been following French paratroopers as they track Islamist fighters across the northern Ifoghas terrain. It took them more than a week of trudging through the desert in 45°C heat to pick up the trail of the fighters.

Both the military and embedded journalists continue to operate under very difficult conditions in the area, Mabin said.

“We couldn’t even consider reaching the area without military helicopters,” he said. “It’s too dangerous. Many Islamist fighters remain in the region.”

 

 

Date created : 2013-03-07

  • MALI - FRANCE

    French troops to begin Mali withdrawal in April

    Read more

  • MALI - FRANCE

    Fourth French soldier killed in Mali operations

    Read more

  • MALI - FRANCE

    French UN envoy: Mali peacekeeping force months away

    Read more

Comments

COMMENT(S)