France will keep forces in Mali "as long as necessary"

François Hollande
François Hollande Wikimedia commons

FRENCH President Francois Hollande has reaffirmed plans to keep a military force in Mali for "as long as necessary" at a press conference in the African nation.

Hollande held formal talks with Mali president Dioncounda Traore on when the French would hand-over control to an African force backed by the United Nations.

France intervened to bolster Mali's attempts to re-capture towns held by rebels linked to Al-Qaeda.

Al-Jazeera English reported Hollande telling reporters, "the fight has not yet ended.

Terrorist groups are weakened, they have suffered heavy losses but have not disappeared".

Hollande called for Malian elections to be held in July.

Topics:  africa terrorism

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