French troops will remain in Sahel until militants eradicated: Macron

French President Emmanuel Macron addresses French troops in Africa's Sahel region in Gao, northern Mali, 19 May 2017. REUTERS/Christophe Petit Tesson/Pool

GAO, Mali (Reuters) - France’s military operation in the North African region of the Sahel will remain in place until militants are eradicated, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Friday.

“The Barkhane operation will only stop when there is no more Islamist terrorism in the region,” Macron told journalists while visiting French troops stationed in Mali.

Macron also said that he had spoken with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika about regional security on Thursday by telephone.

Reporting by Marine Pennetier; writing by Leigh Thomas, Editing by Adrian Croft