Macron offers support to French, African forces in Niger

December 22, 2017

FILE - In this Dec.19, 2017 file photo, French President Emmanuel Macron adjusts his tie at the Elysee Palace, in Paris. As Macron turns 40 Thursday, he's wrapping up a remarkable year. In the seven months since he won a long-shot presidential bid, he has proved to be a key leader in Europe and in the world, at the forefront of the battles against terrorism and climate change and mediating in crises around the Middle East. Now the hard part: transforming France, where critics brand him an arrogant monarch. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

PARIS (AP) — President Emmanuel Macron will hold a holiday dinner with French troops in Niger as he tries to bolster international forces fighting extremists across a swath of Africa.

In a trip starting Friday, Macron wants to encourage Niger’s growing military efforts to fight terrorism in West Africa. France has thousands of troops there in its largest overseas military operation and wants African forces to take a more prominent role.

In meetings with President Mahamadou Issoufou, Macron is also expected to discuss migrant trafficking through the area.

Macron is trying to show support for French troops based in Niger and is bringing a special present: the chef from the Elysee presidential palace. The chef will oversee a meal for hundreds of French troops in addition to American, Canadian and German forces.

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