Malian soldiers fire a machine gun as they battle Islamists
on the streets of Gao. REUTERS/Joe Penney
France is still ready to start pulling its forces out of
Mali next month despite a rebel attack on the key town of Gao,
the French commander of the defence staff says.
Admiral Edouard Guillaud told reporters after a speech in
Ottawa that he was not surprised by Thursday's (local time)
attack in Gao, when 15 Islamists were killed by French and
Asked whether France still planned to start withdrawing
troops in March, he replied: "This is obviously
conditions-based, that's obvious. But yet, I don't see any
reason not to begin some drawdown."