No risk of French anti-terror effort in Mali becoming protracted - Hollande
"We are supported by the population," he said. "In conducting the operation in Mali France acted on behalf of the international community. We are fighting here, so that you could live in peace", - said Hollande.
In Bamako, the French leader was welcomed with applause and cheering. The Acting President of Mali Dioncounda Traore thanked Hollande for help in fighting against extremist groups. He referred to his French counterpart as "a brother to all Malians."
French President François Hollande will fly to Mali on Friday night to meet the West African country's interim president in the capital Bamako the next day, France's Liberation newspaper reported.
Quoting unnamed sources, it said Hollande also planned to visit the fabled desert city of Timbuktu, which French and Malian forces seized back from Islamist rebels who had held the northern part of the former French colony since last year.
No comment from his office was immediately available.
French and Malian soldiers have entered the town of Kidal in the north Mali according to an official representative of the Malian army Suleiman Maiga.
According to him, the troops that have entered the city are a reconnaissance group sent in to prepare and survey the area before the entry of military forces.
Kidal was the last major city in the hands of the Islamists.
On Wednesday, the French and Malian troops occupied the airport of the city.
French jets keep on striking the northern Malian town of Kidal, the last stronghold of Islamist rebels in the region, military officials say.
According to the officials, the jets struck the area of Aguelhok targeting warehouses and insurgent training camps.
The area is now sheltering militant Islamist fighters who had already left the town of Kidal.
Voice of Russia, TASS, Reuters