23:40 GMT22 February 2020
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    The French Foreign Ministry on 20 January said that Paris considers the swift implementation of the commitments made at the Libya conference in Berlin a priority in terms of restoring peace to the North African nation.

    French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has expressed hope that the United States will have "good sense" not to withdraw support in Sahel.

    He continued on by saying that he had no new information on three French nationals who went missing last week in Iraq.

    The statement comes after Le Drian met with his UAE counterpart Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan on 24 January to discuss bilateral ties and recent developments in the region - Libya, Iran, and Sudan in particular - according to the state news agency WAM.

    Prior to this, Berlin hosted an international conference on Libya featuring a number of countries and organisations, including Russia, Turkey, Egypt, the United States, the European Union, and the African Union. The participants of the conference called on the United Nations to facilitate ceasefire talks between the Libyan sides and urged the organisation's Security Council to impose sanctions on those who violate the ceasefire arrangements.

    France is directing Operation Barkhan in the Sahel and Sahara, the goal of which is to stabilise the situation in the region and fight terrorism. As part of this operation, France is working with Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad (G5 Sahel). According to the French Defence Ministry, approximately 4,500 troops are participating in the operation.

    The Sahel ("edge" in Arabic) is a bio-geographic zone of Africa, bordering the Sahara from the south in the form of semi-deserts, gradually transforming into semi-savannas. The outskirts of the world's largest desert expand a few hundred kilometres from the coast of the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Red Sea in the east. Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, and Cape Verde are situated on the territory of the Sahel in an area equivalent to Western Europe.

    Tags:
    troops, United States, Sahel region, Africa, Jean-Yves Le Drian, France
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