France's chief of defence staff has not ruled out the idea of negotiating with hostile forces operating in Africa’s Sahel region.
France, which has more than 5,000 troops in the region, has often stated publicly that there must be no negotiation with militant Islamist groups.
However General François Lecointre told Radio France International that negotiating with the "enemy" was possible – although he stressed this was a decision for the politicians to make.
In Mali – where jihadist attacks are common – the authorities have recently become open to the idea of dialogue in order to help end the escalating violence.
In neighbouring Burkina Faso, President Marc Roch Kaboré has strongly opposed any negotiations.