PARIS — French President François Hollande said on Wednesday the government will rethink a planned cut in military personnel due to the "exceptional situation," as he gave a New Year's address to the armed forces aboard the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier.
Hollande was speaking as France reeled from the impact of last week's shooting of 17 civilians by three self-avowed Islamic fundamentalist gunmen.
In view of an "exceptional situation," the pace of staff reduction set out over the next three years under the multiyear budget law will be revised, the head of state said. The pace of that reduction must be "reviewed and adapted," he said, France Info radio reported.
Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has been asked to conduct the review while taking into account the tough budgetary climate, and present a new plan by the end of the week, Hollande said. A decision will then be taken swiftly, he said.
The 2014-19 multiyear budget law set out a cut of 34,000 personnel and an annual military budget of €31.4 billion (US $37.1 billion).
Hollande took the unprecedented step on Monday of calling on Monday for a military mobilization, which has seen 10,500 troops deployed on the national territory, in the wake of the shootings by gunmen last week. that led to the death of 17 civilians.
The Charles de Gaulle is due to set off for a tour in the Arabian Gulf.
Hollande said the aircraft carrier will be available to support missions and deliver "precious intelligence" on the Islamic State in Iraq, Reuters reported.