French minister visits Mali amid doubts over withdrawal

BAMAKO - France's Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius laid out plans to start withdrawing French troops from Mali before elections in July on a visit to the West African nation on Friday, despite a recent spate of attacks by Islamist rebels.
France intervened dramatically in January against Islamist rebels controlling Mali's north, saying they were a threat to Western security.
Paris plans to halve its troop presence to 2,000 by July and is pressing its former colony to quickly hold elections to complete a democratic transition after a 2012 coup.
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