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France Begins Mali Withdrawal in North

French Defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian arrived in Gao, Mali, to address French troops and officers along with their African counterparts.

Le Drian’s visit Friday comes as a gradual withdrawal of more than 4,000 French troops from northern Mali gets underway, after they intervened to stop a rebel advance in January.

A U.N peacekeeping force is taking over the mission in July, but 1,000 French troops will remain to assist. Al Jazeera’s Andrew Simmons reports from Gao.

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