François Lecointre named as new chief of France armed forces

| Updated: Jul 20, 2017 03:50 IST

Paris [France] ,July 19 (ANI) General François Lecointre was today named the new military chief of France, hours after General Pierre de Villiers' unprecedented resignation over a defence budget cut related clash with President Emmanuel Macron. Lecointre,55-year-old career military officer served in Sarajevo during the Balkan Wars in the 1990s and recently led the EU military training mission in Mali to help fight Islamist extremists. French government spokesman Christophe Castaner confirmed the appointment on Wednesday afternoon, saying Lecointre was recognised as "a hero" in the army. His appointment, however, won't be officially confirmed until a cabinet meeting on Thursday. The latest shakeup in the military is widely viewed as an early test of France's newly elected 39-year-old president and his tough presidential style, France24 reported. According to the proposed budget cuts, the Defense Ministry will have to make savings of €850 million (US$980 million). The clash between the French President and the chief of armed forces erupted last week when France's Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin had announced military budget cuts-€850 million cut to the defence budget in an effort to meet the EU's requirement that member states maintain their deficits at 3 percent of GDP. However, the interior and foreign ministries also had to face budget cuts. In his first defence policy speech last week, Macron said he would not tolerate public dissent from the military. "I have made commitments, I am your boss," he said "If the Armed Forces chief of staff has an issue with the President of the Republic, the chief of staff will be changed," Macron added. (ANI)