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French Defense Minister JeanYves le Drian flanked by a Niger officer... News Photo 1632906112012-2013 Northern Mali Conflict,Army,Army Soldier,Chief of Staff,Control,French Culture,Gao Region,Group Of People,Horizontal,Jean-Yves Le Drian,Mali,Military,Mistral,Niger,Officer,Operating,People,Politics,Speech,VisitPhotographer AFPCollection: AFP 2013 AFPFrench Defense Minister Jean-Yves le Drian (C), flanked by a Niger officer (L), Malian army chief of staff General Ibrahima Dahirou Dembele (2nd L) and French army Colonel Mistral (R), commanding the Gao operations, addresses soldiers during a visit to Gao on March 7, 2013. French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was in Mali on Thursday to meet French troops fighting Islamist rebels, the ministry said. He was to visit several cities, including the capital Bamako, and was due in the northern city of Gao at mid-day. AFP PHOTO / DOROTHEE THIENOT (Photo credit should read Dorothee Thienot/AFP/Getty Images)