French President Emmanuel Macron will meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Paris later Thursday to discuss international crises and European issues, days before elections that will determine who succeeds her after 16 years in office.
Macron’s office said topics will include the diplomatic and humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, the situation in Mali and European Union affairs.
Macron and Merkel will make a joint statement before their one-to-one meeting, that will be followed by a working dinner at the presidential palace, the Elysee said.
The meeting comes after French authorities announced overnight the death of the leader of the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara, killed in southern Mali in a French-led operation with backup from U.S., EU, Malian and Nigerien military forces.
France has over 5,000 troops deployed in the broader Sahel region to fight Islamic extremists. Germany has several hundred soldiers taking part in United Nations stabilization and European Union training missions in Mali.
Merkel’s visit comes ahead of Germany’s parliamentary elections on Sept. 26. She has announced she won’t seek a fifth term.
In Germany, the outgoing chancellor stays on until a new coalition government is formed, which can take weeks or months.
A French top official, speaking anonymously in accordance with the Elysee’s customary practices, said Merkel will be back in Paris in the coming weeks for a “goodbye visit.”
Macron met last week with two candidates to succeed her, Armin Laschet of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union and Olaf Scholz, running for the Social Democrats.
The meetings, at the request of the two candidates, allowed Macron to get “the most precise information possible” about the political situation in Germany, and different hypothesis for the future coalition government, the official said.
Macron didn’t meet with Greens contender Annalena Baerbock.