Hollande says NATO allies understand Afghan position

Hollande says NATO allies understand Afghan position

French President Francois Hollande (Reuters/Benoit Tessier)

Chicago (ANTARA News) - French President Francois Hollande said on Sunday that he had reached agreement with his NATO allies over his decision to withdraw French troops early from Afghanistan, saying they had understood his position.

"The combat troops will be pulled out from Afghanistan by the end of the year. In 2013 only trainers for the police forces and the Afghan soldiers will remain. That will be done as part of the ISAF operation, and based on these principles we managed to reach agreement," Hollande told reporters.

"We have ensured that France`s position has been fully respected and applied, and at the same time I ensured that our allies understood the reason for this operation," said the new French leader as quoted by AFP.

"I demonstrated this by showing that there are actions which will remain part of the ISAF framework."

Hollande, on his first foreign tour since being inaugurated as the new president on Tuesday, said he had been "open" with US President Barack Obama in their talks.

"And I told everyone I spoke with that this was not negotiable because it was a question of French sovereignty and everyone understood."

Hollande also highlighted that NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen had told him during their talks Sunday that the French decision "did not bring into question the (NATO) operation."
(H-AK)

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