PARIS- France's chief of staff of the armed forces, General Francois Lecointre, is stepping down to retire and will be replaced by General Thierry Burkhard, the French Presidency said in a statement on Sunday.
Burkhard was up to now army's chief of land staff. Lecointre's retirement was widely expected.
The announcement comes after President Emmanuel Macron announced a drawdown in Mali which will take several months of planning.
(Reporting by Michel Rose Additional reporting by Tangi Salaun and John Irish Writing by Mathieu Rosemain Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky) ((Mathieu.Rosemain@thomsonreuters.com; +33 1 8098 1239; Reuters Messaging: firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: https://twitter.com/MathieuRosemain))