The new Pentagon chief, Lloyd Austin, spoke Thursday, January 28, with the French Minister of the Armies, Florence Parly, about the situation in the Sahel, but made no commitment on American support for the anti-operation. – jihadist in this region, according to his spokesperson.
The US Defense Minister spoke with Mme Parly from “Security and stability in Africa, the need for permanent vigilance in the face of terrorism and the pandemic” of Covid-19, said John Kirby. “The minister made no commitment in one direction or another, but he obviously expressed his gratitude for the work that France is doing in terms of the fight against terrorism”, he added during a press briefing.
The conversation between the two defense ministers also focused on the situation in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in the Middle East in general, according to the spokesperson. But he pointed out that just a week after taking over as head of the Pentagon, Mr. Austin wanted “Examine the whole military posture [des Etats-Unis] in the world before making specific decisions ”.
Waiting also around the international anti-IS coalition
In the Sahel, Washington is providing Operation Barkhane with valuable intelligence and surveillance capabilities – notably thanks to its drones -, in-flight refueling and logistical transport, at a cost of $ 45 million per year ($ 37 million). euros approximately).
In early 2020, the administration of outgoing President Donald Trump warned that the United States intended to reduce its presence in Africa, causing France to fear a reduction in American aid to Barkhane. In the end, it did not.
France also hopes to obtain assurances from the new American administration concerning the future of the international anti-Islamic State (IS) coalition in Iraq and Syria, led by Washington and in which 900 French soldiers participate.