From Algeria to Rwanda via the Sahel, Emmanuel Macron defended his diplomacy vis-à-vis Africa in an interview published Friday, November 20, by Young Africa (article for subscribers). In this interview, the French president makes a particular appointment with Africans in July 2021, for the next France-Africa summit, in Montpellier (Hérault).
In the Sahel, “we do not discuss” with “the terrorists”
Regarding the Sahel, the Head of State indicates that there will be, “in the coming months of the decisions to be taken to develop Barkhane”, the French force made up of more than 5,000 men. He insists on Paris’ complete opposition to any negotiations with the jihadists, while this subject is debated in the region, especially in Mali. “With terrorists, we do not discuss. We fight”, he sums up.
The president calls for “Suscribe in the clear roadmap of agreements d‘Alger”, in reference to the peace agreement concluded in 2015 between the Malian authorities, the pro-Bamako armed groups and the former Tuareg-dominant rebellion in northern Mali. “These provide for a dialogue with different political and autonomist groups. But that does not mean that we have to dialogue with terrorist groups, which continue to kill civilians and soldiers, including our soldiers”, he added.
“Look at the history” of colonization “in the face”
“I think that between France and Africa, it must be a love story”, says the French president, pleading for the establishment of“a fair relationship and a true partnership”. For it, “we must not be prisoners of our past”. “We have to look at this period of l‘history opposite, in an uninhibited way but with a concern for truth “, says Emmanuel Macron, about colonization. “Let’s not hide anything and move on “, he adds.
The French head of state believes that “African leaders and foreign powers, like Russia or Turkey, play on post-colonial resentment” in French-speaking Africa, where demonstrations, of limited scale, were recently organized against the republication of the cartoons of Mohammed in the press.
In Algeria, Emmanuel Macron wants to “help” the president Abdelmadjid Tebboune
Algeria is another priority for Emmanuel Macron, who claims to want to “all that is in [son] possible” for “help” President Abdelmadjid Tebboune so that “succeed” the transition launched in 2019 by the popular uprising of the “Hirak”. Emmanuel Macron calls for patience, estimating that “we do not change a country, institutions and power structures in a few months”.
Since the end of October, the head of state has been hospitalized in Germany for a Covid-19 infection. An absence that has awakened the specter, for many Algerians and in the media, of the vacancy in power during the hospitalizations abroad of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, after his serious stroke, in 2013.
Asked about his attitude towards “memory challenge” posed by the Algerian war, Emmanuel Macron affirms that the important thing is to “carry out historical work and reconcile memories” instead of “apologize”. “Basically, we locked ourselves in a kind of pendulum between two postures: excuse and repentance on the one hand, denial and pride on the other. Me, I want to be in the truth and reconciliation, and President Tebboune has expressed his willingness to do the same “, he adds.
Towards a visit to Rwanda in 2021
The French president also greeted his counterpart from Rwanda, Paul Kagame, who according to him “much pacified the Rwandan political discourse with regard to France in recent years”. He says he hopes to visit this country in 2021 to materialize the warming of relations after decades of tensions linked to France’s role in the 1994 genocide.
In Guinea, “the situation is serious”
Finally, the pan-African magazine asked Emmanuel Macron about the re-election in October of Guinean President Alpha Condé, 82 years old. His decision to run for a third term had given rise to violent protests which left dozens of people dead. “The situation is serious in Guinea”, according to the French president, who regrets that President Alpha Condé, reelected in October, “organized a referendum and a change of the Constitution only to be able to keep the power“.
Emmanuel Macron, on the other hand, showed understanding about the re-election in October, also controversial, of Alassane Ouattara, 78 years old, at the head of Côte d’Ivoire. he “presented himself by duty” in the presidential election when he “didn’t want”. Violence erupted during the presidential election, leaving at least 85 dead and nearly 500 injured since August. “It will then be for President Ouattara to define the terms d‘a peaceful political life “, according to Emmanuel Macron.