PARIS – The commander of France's military operation in Central African Republic says security has improved considerably in the country and French authorities are studying plans for a troop drawdown.
Gen. Eric Bellot des Minieres was speaking a day before the one-year anniversary of President Francois Hollande's order to deploy hundreds more troops in the impoverished former French colony amid sectarian killings.
Speaking Thursday to reporters in Paris by video conference, Bellot des Minieres said: "We can project that normalization is underway." He said "the situation remains fragile," but much violence now is criminal rather than political or ideological.
France has about 2,000 troops in the country, and plans to scale down that presence as a U.N. peacekeeping mission ramps up from about 7,500 now to a planned 10,000.