France's Macron to meet unions on Tuesday on labour reform

Premier Paolo Gentiloni will be the guest at a working dinner at the Elysee Palace Sunday with new French President Emmanuel Macron, diplomatic sources said in Paris Friday.

Macron said he had discussed the security situation in Mali with German Chancellor Angela Merkel during his visit to Berlin earlier this week. The Elabe poll showed that although a majority supported Macron's unprecedented decision to form a government from a mix of ministers from the left, right and centre - with half the appointments coming from civil society non-politicians - Macron himself and his rightwing prime minister, Edouard Philippe, were beginning their terms with the lowest public confidence levels of any new French leaders in the past 20 years.

Macron also promised French troops: "I won't risk your lives for nothing. but my determination when in action will be total".

Macron called for Germany to do more in Africa to help protect Europe from the threat of Islamist terrorism.

The German government earlier this year approved an expansion of the country's military deployment in Mali, with Berlin sending more helicopters to support the United Nations peacekeeping mission there and raising the maximum number of German soldiers from 650 to 1,000.

The troops are part of Operation Barkhane, the counter-terror operation whose mission is to target jihadist groups operating in the Sahel region south of the Sahara.

Pope Francis is praying that God will support France's new president Emmanuel Macron and urged him to strengthen the country's Christian and spiritual roots.

Speaking alongside Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita at the Gao military base in the north of the country where some 1,600 troops are based, Macron also said France was determined to act for continued security in the region, and would seek to strengthen cooperation with France's European Union partner Germany to that end.

"In fact, we work day and night", said Mali's President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

In stark contrast to his opponent in the second round of the presidential election, French nationalist Marine Le Pen, Macron championed Europe. Most of the extremist groups in the region trace their origins to al-Qaida's North Africa branch.

Macron also met on Friday with some of the 1,700 French soldiers stationed in Gao.

Another resident, Mohamed Gaiga, said he wants Macron "to put an end to the massacre of Malians".

He said during one rally: "We have entered a world of great migrations and we will have more and more of it".

Macron also made clear his desire for greater action by the Malian government in implementing its 2015 peace deal, which has repeatedly faltered in the face of inaction and ongoing rivalries between the patchwork of armed groups operating in the north who signed the accord.

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