Timbuktu: French President Francois Hollande was welcomed among jovial celebrations in Timbuktu on Saturday.
His visit comes three weeks after a successful operation led by French troops that helped Mali to regain the historical city of Timbuktu, which was under the control of Islamist opposition.
Rigorous military efforts have forced the opposition to leave the northern region of Mali and flee to the deserts.
"We are serving a cause defined within the United Nations` framework ... to bring the entire Malian territory under the legitimate authority of the Malian president and then the leaders who will be elected by the Malians," Hollande said according to a CNN report.
Though, he made clear that the presence of French troops in Mali has no political overtones to it.
He said that the French troops came for a specific mission and on the invitation by the President of Mali, under the Security Council resolutions.
Natives of Timbuktu greeted him with gifts and some performed local dance as a welcome gesture.
With Agency Inputs