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Hollande sticking to Afghanistan withdrawal by year's end

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 10:17 PM EDT, Fri May 18, 2012
France's President Francois Hollande pauses between ceremonies May 15, 2012.
France's President Francois Hollande pauses between ceremonies May 15, 2012.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Hollande reminds Obama "that I made a promise to the French people"
  • But France will continue to support Afghanistan "in a different way"
  • France has more than 3,300 forces in Afghanistan

Washington (CNN) -- France's newly elected President Francois Hollande said Friday that he is sticking to his campaign pledge to remove his country's forces from Afghanistan by the end of the year.

After an Oval Office meeting at the White House with the U.S. president, Hollande told reporters, "I reminded President Obama that I made a promise to the French people to the effect that our combat troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2012."

But, he added, the French government "will continue to support Afghanistan in a different way, our support will take a different format."

As the Frenchman spoke, Obama looked on but made no comment.

According to the website of the International Security Assistance Force, France has 3,308 troops in Afghanistan.

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