PARIS – France's defense minister is in Mali to prepare the post-war period after most French soldiers leave, to be replaced by African troops and U.N. peacekeepers.
A Defense Ministry statement says Jean-Yves Le Drian arrived in the Malian capital of Bamako on Thursday and plans visits with political figures and French troops who intervened on Jan. 11 and have knocked out fortified bases of radical jihadists in the north.
About 200 tons of munitions and arms have been seized and "the capacities of these groups have been considerably reduced," according to the statement.
Le Drian's visit comes as the U.N. Security Council approved a peacekeeping force for Mali, which will hold presidential elections in July.
At year's end, 1,000 French troops will still be in Mali, compared to around 4,000 now.