France's army chief Lecointre steps down, replaced by General Burkhard

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Chief of the Defense Staff of the French Army General Francois Lecointre attends a news conference in Paris, France, after thirteen French soldiers were killed in Mali when their helicopters collided at low altitude as they swooped in to suppo

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s chief of staff of the armed forces, General Francois Lecointre, is stepping down to retire and will be replaced by General Thierry Burkhard, the French Presidency said in a statement on Sunday.

Burkhard was up to now army’s chief of land staff. Lecointre’s retirement was widely expected.

The announcement comes after President Emmanuel Macron announced a drawdown in Mali which will take several months of planning.

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