Malian president in France to seek support for peace process

AP News
Posted: Oct 21, 2015 1:16 PM

PARIS (AP) — Malian president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita is seeking political and financial support for the country's peace process during a two-day state visit to France.

Keita met French President Francois Hollande on Wednesday ahead of a dinner at the Elysee palace to celebrate the first state visit by a Malian president since the country's independence from France in 1960.

On Thursday an international conference for the economic recovery and development of Mali is to be held at the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

"It's very important for us to be able to call on the international financial community to invest heavily in Mali," Hollande said during a press conference.

France will release a total of 360 million euros ($408 million) in loans and grants to Mali by 2017, Hollande said. The amount includes 80 million euros ($90.7 million) for the troubled north of the country.

France launched a military operation in Mali in 2013 to expel Islamic extremists that had captured the country's northern half.

About 1.000 French troops remain in the country as attacks continue in the north and are moving further south.