Macron: no immediate change to French military presence in Africa's Sahel

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G5 Sahel and allies hold summit over security in Africa's Sahel region

PARIS (Reuters) - France has no immediate plans to adjust its military presence in Africa's Sahel region, and any changes will depend on other countries contributing troops, President Emmanuel Macron told a news conference on Tuesday after a summit on the region.

Speaking after virtual summit of G5 Sahel countries, Macron added there was an increased willingness from other European countries to take part in the Takuba military force in Sahel.

"Significant changes will undoubtedly be made to our military system in the Sahel in due course, but they will not take place immediately," Macron said.

France, the region's former colonial power, is searching for an exit strategy after years of military intervention against Islamist militants. Its counter-insurgency operation in the Sahel has cost billions and seen 55 French soldiers killed, yet violence is persisting with signs it is spreading to coastal West Africa.

Last year, Paris boosted its troop numbers for its Barkhane counter-terrorism operations by 600 to 5,100 soldiers.

(Reporting by Michel Rose; Writing by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Peter Graff)