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France Freezes Military Spending

Benoit Tessier/Reuters, via Landov,BENOIT TESSIER

France's President Francois Hollande greets people in the center of Timbuktu on February 2, 2013. Malians chanting "Thank you, France!" mobbed Hollande on Saturday as he visited the desert city of Timbuktu, retaken from Islamist rebels, and pledged France's sustained support for Mali to expel jihadists.

In a bid to keep funding for overseas operations, the French government announced Monday it would basically freeze military spending for the next few years and cut 10 percent of defense jobs. "France wants to maintain its ability to react alone," says President Francois Hollande. But in examining its role recently in Libya and Mali, decided it could not cut the budget too dramatically. Of the countries 228,000 military personnel, 10,000 will be cut soon, and a total of 24,000 jobs will be lost.