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French president Hollande visits Niger on tour

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(AP Photo/Sevi Herve Gbekide ). French President Francois Hollande, is given a pineapple by well-wishers in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Thursday, July 17, 2014. (AP Photo/Sevi Herve Gbekide ). French President Francois Hollande, is given a pineapple by well-wishers in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, Thursday, July 17, 2014.
(AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool) (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)
(AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool). French President Francois Hollande, right, meets with Ivorian opposition party leaders, Thursday, July 17, 2014 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast. (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool). French President Francois Hollande, right, meets with Ivorian opposition party leaders, Thursday, July 17, 2014 in Abidjan, Ivory Coast.
(AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool) (AP Photo/Alain Jocard, Pool)

NIAMEY, Niger (AP) - France's president is paying a visit to the former colony of Niger, a landlocked desert nation in West Africa that has played a key role in French military efforts in the region.

President Francois Hollande arrived Friday in the capital of Niamey, a day after holding economic talks with officials in Ivory Coast.

Next he heads to Chad, another former colony that will be headquarters for a newly reorganized French military presence in Africa.

The redeployment of 3,000 French troops in five of its former colonies across northwest Africa is expected to be officially announced Saturday.

The new operation - code-named "Barkhane" after a crescent-shaped dune in Sahara desert - will involve Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Niger and Chad.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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