Defence minister Jean-Yves Le Drian says 60% of troops will be withdrawn over three months, leaving a force of 1,000 French soldiers.
Foreign minister Laurent Fabius says the killing of two French journalists in Kidal will not affect timetable of the withdrawal of French troops.
Foreign minister Laurent Fabius tells Mali leaders that France is not planning an 'overnight' withdrawal of the troops it sent to liberate the country.
Many in northern Mali who lived under rebel rule last year are worried about French plans to leave just 1,000 troops in the country by December.
France has repeated its troops will start leaving Mali in March, while officials confirmed new hostilities with Jihadist groups near the town of Gao.
President Hollande's pledge to withdraw all French troops from Afghanistan this year begins with formal ceremony, two years before NATO pullout.