PARIS, Feb. 1 (Xinhua) -- French President Francois Hollande will visit Mali on Saturday, the French Presidency said in a statement.
The French head of state will be accompanied by Minister of Foreign Affairs Laurent Fabius, Minister of Defence Jean-Yves Le Drian and Minister of Development Pascal Canfin, according to the Elysee Palace.
French newspaper Liberation reported earlier that the French president will leave for the African country on Friday evening to meet with Malian interim President Dioncounda Traore.
Hollande will also pay a visit to Timbuktu, a main town recently freed by French-Mlian armies, said the Liberation, quoting unnamed sources.
The visit comes following army forces recapturing the last major town, Kidal, which had been controlled by Islamist rebels since last June.
The French army launched the "Operation Serval" in Mali on Jan. 11 to prevent the progression of jihadist groups, who have controlled the North since last year, from moving to the south of the West African country.
France has so far deployed some 4,500 troops in the three-week ground and air offensive to help Malain authorities to quash Islamists rebels.