Macron had warned that he could withdraw French troops without a clear political commitment from them. France, the former colonial power, has 4,500 troops in Mali and the wider Sahel. Another 220 French troops will be sent to give fresh momentum to the fight with more European special forces expected to join in the coming months
The new structure, named Coalition for the Sahel, brings the G5 states, French forces and any future troops under a single command. It aims to enable joint operations, greater intelligence-sharing and quicker response time in particular for French forces in the border areas linking Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso, where violence is at its worst.