BREST, FRANCE (AP) – French President Emmanuel Macron hopes on Tuesday that US President-elect Joe Biden will show a greater military commitment to fighting Islamic extremists in several conflict theaters, especially in the Middle East.
Macron, who delivered his New Year’s speech to the French military in Brest, western France, said: “I am confident that in the coming weeks the new administration (Biden) will have to make key decisions that will show greater commitment and awareness in the fight against terrorism “in Syria and Iraq.
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Macron stressed that France has continued its efforts to fight Islamic State in the region. About 900 French troops are currently participating in the US-led international coalition. The aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle will join the operation in the coming months, he said.
He also called on the United States to become more involved in multilateral defense cooperation. Biden, whose opening is scheduled for Wednesday, has vowed to restore US relations with allies and the NATO alliance.
During the Trump administration, the number of US troops in Afghanistan has been reduced to about 2,500, and US forces in Iraq have been reduced in recent months to about the same level.
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In his speech, Macron also suggested that he was considering a partial withdrawal of troops in the Sahel region of Africa, a “correction”
Macron said he would make announcements at next month’s summit in the Chadian capital, N’Djamena. The deployment of some 5,100 troops in five West African countries is France’s largest military operation abroad.