French President Emmanuel Macron arrived Friday in the capital of Niger on a trip designed to bolster the morale of French troops in the country in their fight against extremists.
The French president was welcomed to capital city Niamey by his Niger counterpart Mahamadou Tssoufou. The two leaders will meet Saturday to talk about African forces taking a more prominent role in the fight against jihadists.
"We must not leave the Sahel to terrorist organizations," Macron said. "I do not want to give an ounce of territory to the terrorist forces in the Sahel and the Sahara."
The former colonial power has thousands of its military service members in Niger.
Niger houses France's largest overseas military operations.
France has a military base in the capital where Macron hosted a holiday dinner Friday night for the hundreds of French troops stationed there.
As a special treat, Macron brought the Elysee presidential palace chef to Niger with him to oversee the preparations for the dinner.
Some American, Canadian and German forces also were invited to the feast.