Macron intends to diversify alliances and clarify how his military policy on the African continent
The first will be Morocco. After Algeria last summer, and this fall, after Tunis on the occasion of the Francophonie summit in Agadir, the President of the Republic will go to Morocco at the invitation of the King, whom he spoke with before the holiday. Relations have been complicated and difficult in recent months, but the Elysée recalled the Kingdom’s importance to France and the area of cooperation and cross-investment between France and Morocco. Paris is also pleased with the positive role played by Rabat in the Sahel and sub-Saharan Africa.
In short, the idea is to show the rest of the Maghreb and the continent that Franco-African relations are with the whole of Africa and primarily with North Africa, which is closest. Catherine Colonna prepared the visit, and the new ambassador, Jean Castex’s former classmate at ENA and ex-Treasury columnist Christophe Lecourtier, was presented as less divisive than Helen Le Gal, who had previously held this sensitive position. The third French embassy in the world by the number of employees after Washington and Berlin. Francois Hollande’s former diplomatic adviser has been given little credit by the Court, especially for his positions on Western Sahara and his lack of goodwill to revive relations after the revelations of the Pegasus affair, an Israeli spy program that would be used by Morocco. to monitor the negotiations of certain French officials.
Highlighting Africa’s role as a driving force for the planet
In March, Emmanuel Macron will visit Libreville, Gabon. He will co-chair a forest summit there with President Ali Bongo. While the latter’s democratic governance is contested by its opposition and many environmental NGOs criticize its record in this area, Gabon prides itself on doing more to protect biodiversity than any other. The President of the Republic wants to emphasize Africa’s leading role in saving the planet, especially its tropical forests, and intends to take advantage of his visit to meet with his Congolese and Angolan counterparts.
By then, the head of state will have sworn in the troops – this Friday, January 10, at the Mont de Marsan airbase. If he were to outline the broad outlines of future military programming legislation, his plan for the redeployment of French forces in Africa would surely be the subject of a separate speech at the Elysée, and later, probably before the end. spring. But we in Paris insist that this new organization will conform to the new doctrine for the employment of forces. There is no longer a question of self-indoctrination, giving way to suggestions and respecting the choices of partners.
A position that combines “humility” and “listening”.
That was the whole point of the Secretary of State for Development’s emergency visit to Ouagadougou this week, as a premature example. Chrysoula Zacharopoulou saw the president of the junta “switch” in Burkina Faso to contact him “dialogue” when our ambassador was just announced “persona non grata” by the Burkinabe chief executive. According to our information, neither Ibrahim Traore nor the French-Greek minister mentioned the word “Wagner” during these discussions. But “got my message” On his return from Ouagadougou, he entrusted the Secretary of State to us, “When I told him that every choice has consequences”. According to him, “Now we need to give ourselves some time” and stay in the connecting position “humility” and “listen”. And Paris wants to escape from Burkina “fail over” It can be compared to what happened in Mali, where there is a junta “double whammy” would sink “desperate adventure” However, France does not want to rob its partner in Burkinabé.
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No decision has been made at this stage for the Saber detachment of French special forces based on the outskirts of Ouagadougou. At the same time, apparently, the junta did not order the expulsion of the French ambassador Luc Hallade. If it were possible for Paris to bring him and replace him with a milder interlocutor, he would “Stay at this stage”, provides an official source.
During these other African trips that the President has planned between now and the end of the year, especially in East Africa, the key message should be: “France is not leaving the African continent because it is too absorbed in the war in Ukraine.” This will be the meaning of the summit that Emmanuel Macron intends to organize a summit meeting with the countries of the “Global South” in Paris next summer. “New financial pact” will enable developing and emerging countries to relaunch their economies on the path to energy transition.