French president, army boss clash

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PARIS – The head of the French armed forces has quit after a clash with President Emmanuel Macron over budget cuts.


Gen Pierre de Villiers said in a statement he could no longer “guarantee the durability of the army model” that he considered necessary to ensure France’s protection.


France’s government last week revealed major cuts to bring its budget deficit below the level of an EU cap.


Mr Macron had said he would not tolerate dissent from the military.


In a speech at the defence ministry last week, he said: “It is not dignified to hold certain debates in the public arena.”


Then in an interview with Le Journal du Dimanche, he said: “If the military chief of staff and the president are opposed on something, the military chief of staff goes.”


But he had also said the general had his “full trust” as long as he “knows the chain of command and how it works”.


The pair had been scheduled to meet on Friday to try to sort out their differences.


Gen de Villiers’ replacement will be named on Wednesday, French media said.


He will be Gen François Lecointre, Agence France-Presse reported, citing government sources.

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