Macron's first non-Europe trip focuses on fighting extremism

Paterniano Del Favero
Mag 20, 2017

Macron, 39, has said he intends to keep his distance from the press in an effort to restore the authority of the presidential office which he felt was damaged under his gossip-loving predecessor Francois Hollande.

The move, which echoes similar conflicts over media coverage of Donald Trump's presidency in the United States, sparked an angry joint response by more than 20 of the country's top media outlets, including Le Monde newspaper, Agence France-Presse and state-owned broadcaster France 3.

New French President Emmanuel Macron has held a special security meeting to examine measures protecting the country from terror threats and cyberattacks. "Macron comes to see the French soldiers but not us".

The Kremlin says the leaders of Russian Federation and France have discussed possible cooperation on global issues, including the fight against terrorism.

Operation Barkhane is France's largest overseas military mission and was launched after extremist groups overran northern Mali in 2012. Macron said he spoke to German Chancellor Angela Merkel earlier this week about getting more logistical support and said Merkel backs the idea.

"The road is long. but we are going forward and we will succeed", Keita said.

(AP Photo/Christophe Ena). New French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb arrives for the first weekly cabinet meeting under new French President Emmanuel Macron, Thursday, May 18, 2017 at the Elysee Palace in Paris.

Macron, a newcomer to worldwide diplomacy, put counter-terrorism at the top of his security priorities during the election campaign, vowing to strengthen support for West African allies. The rest of his day there Friday will be devoted nearly entirely to familiarizing himself with French troops who are combating West African extremist groups.

France will be uncompromising in its fight against militant Islamists in Mali and the Sahel region, President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday during his first visit outside Europe's borders.

President Emmanuel Macron has had his first major spat with the media since taking power, after his team imposed restrictions on which journalists could travel with him on a trip to visit French troops stationed in west Africa.

Most of the West African extremist groups France is combating trace their origins to al-Qaida's North Africa branch.

Macron will make a visit on Friday to a French military base in Mali, a country where multiple extremist groups pose a growing danger to the region.

After sending troops to Mali, France has since spread some 4,000 soldiers across the region to hunt down Islamists, while UN' peacekeepers have been deployed to ensure Mali's stability.

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