US support for the Sahel: no Pentagon commitment ~ #REUTERS:

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The US Defense Minister discussed with Ms Parly “security and stability in Africa, the need for permanent vigilance in the face of terrorism and the pandemic” of Covid-19, said John Kirby.

“The minister made no commitment one way or another, but he obviously expressed his gratitude for the work that France is doing in terms of the fight against terrorism,” he added during ‘a press briefing.

The conversation between the two defense ministers also focused on the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the Middle East in general, according to the spokesperson.

But he stressed that barely a week after his arrival at the head of the Pentagon, Mr. Austin wanted “to examine the whole of the military posture (of the United States) in the world before taking specific decisions”.

In the Sahel, Washington is providing Operation Barkhane with valuable intelligence and surveillance capabilities – notably thanks to its drones -, in-flight refueling and logistical transport, at a cost of $ 45 million per year.

In early 2020, the administration of outgoing President Donald Trump warned that the United States intended to reduce its presence in Africa, causing France to fear a reduction in American aid to Barkhane. In the end, it did not.

France also hopes to obtain assurances from the new American administration concerning the future of the international anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition in Iraq and Syria, led by Washington and in which 900 French soldiers participate.

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Source: Reuters-VOA.

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About Reuters

REUTERS: is an international news organization owned by Thomson Reuters. Until 2008, the Reuters news agency formed part of an independent company, Reuters Group plc, which was also a provider of financial market data.

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