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Macron To Ask For Saudi Help Against Extremists


French President Emmanuel Macron gives a press conference in Dubai, November 9, 2017

French President Emmanuel Macron intends to ask Saudi Arabia to deliver on its promise of cutting funding for extremist groups.

Macron said on Wednesday that he will submit a list of organizations to Saudi Arabia, after crown price Mohammed bin Salman pledged during Macron’s visit to Riyadh to cut funding to groups France considers extremist.

For the past three decades, Western countries and experts have often voiced concern that Saudi financing of Fundamentalist Wahhabi groups contributes to extremism and violence.

"He never did it publicly, but when I went to Riyadh (in November), he made a commitment, such that we could give him a list and he would cut the financing," Macron said during an interview with France 24 television.

"I believe him, but I will follow up. Trust is built on results," Macron added.

Macron, who was in Abidjan, said he had also sought commitments to cut financing of extremist groups from Qatar, Iran and Turkey.

Macron will also invite Saudi Arabia to participate in a multinational anti-terrorism force in the Sahel, French officials said on Thursday.

The French-backed G5 Sahel force is an anti-jihadist military initiative staffed by pooled resources from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.

A French source told AFP that Macron believes "the terrorists have scored a number of significant military victories, notably in Niger. It is urgent to reverse this trend”, while the Sahel force “is not moving fast enough”.

Since the G5 force countries are among the poorest nations in the world, Saudi participation can enhance their capabilities.

Macron intends to ask the U.N., European Union and the African Union to deepen their involvement.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP

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