Tag Archives: Emmanuel Macron

G5 Sahel Summit in Nouakchott

President Emmanuel Macron will travel to the Mauritanian capital Nouakchott on Juin 30 for a Summit of West African leaders to discuss the ongoing combat operations against Islamists in the Sahel region, Elysee Palace office said last week.

French President intends to request Mali and Burkina Faso for guarantees on their commitments in favor of peace, so as not to jeopardize the military gains recently acquired on the ground, said a source at the Elysée on Juin 29.

“All the progress recorded is fragile and can be jeopardized if the political dynamic is not suitable,” he continued.

The Prime Minister of Sapin Pedro Sanchez and the French Head of State Emmanuel Macron are due to make their first trip to Africa in person on Juin 30 since the coronavirus pandemic.

The G5 force operates with the over 5,000-strong French Barkhane force which has been deployed in the Sahel for the last seven years but has encountered increasing resistance from the Islamists, desiring to restore the historic Chaliphate of Sokoto.

The meeting in Mauritania comes six months after a Summit in Pau, France, where the leaders vowed to strengthen the efforts to defeat the jihad in Sahel.

After the Nouakchott meeting, the six leaders will hold video talks with other key players including European Council President Charles Michel and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said a French presidential official.

The other European leaders the German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the President of the Italian Council Giuseppe Conte will participate in this summit only by videoconference. Five G5 Sahel heads of state and United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guiterres, and the president of the EU Council Charles Michel will join by teleconference.

Political criis in Mail has agrravated the situation in Sahel, and caused concern of the European Union, one of the major humanitarian sponsors of the region. The EU top diplomat Josep Borrell has warned about the risk of a protracted poliitical crisis for the security and stablitiy of the region.

Barkhane: France sends 220 troops

Faced with a persistent jihadist threat, the leaders of the G5 Sahel countries and France announced the establishment of a new operational framework with redefined priorities and concentrated action on the so-called “three borders” area between Mali , Niger and Burkina Faso.

The military coalition will have a “joint command” between the Barkhane force and the joint force of the G5 Sahel, “by integrating our intelligence forces, our military forces” in the area of the three borders, “with a much stronger latitude of engagement. ”, said Emmanuel Macron.

“Beyond that, I decided to engage additional combat capabilities – 220 soldiers to initiate this dynamic will swell the troops already present on the Barkhane field”, which currently counts 4,500 men, added the French head of state.

“The priority is the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara (EIGS), which does not prevent us from fighting all the armed terrorist groups but it is the priority enemy because the most dangerous,” he said. for follow-up. A month after threatening to withdraw French troops from the region in a context of anti-French sentiment, Emmanuel Macron estimated that he had obtained the necessary “clarification” from his partners who in a joint declaration expressed the wish to see the Barkhane operation.

West Africa abandons colonial franc

West Africa’s monetary union has agreed with France to rename its CFA franc the Eco and cut some of the financial links with former metropole, ensuring the region’s common currency since its creation soon World War Two.

Under the new agreement, the Eco will remain pegged to the euro but eight African countries in the bloc won’t have to transfer 50% of their reserves in the French Treasury and there will no longer be a French representative on the currency union’s board, meaning Paris will also withdraw “from the governance bodies in which it was present”.

Critics of the CFA have long seen it as a relic from colonial past while proponents of the currency say it has provided financial stability for the turbulent region.

“This is a historic day for West Africa,” Ivory Coast’s President Alassane Ouattara said during a news conference with French President Emmanuel Macron in Abidjan, the capital.

In 2017, Macron highlighted the stabilizing benefits of the CFA but said it was up to African governments to determine the future of the currency.

“Yes, it’s the end of certain relics of the past. Yes it’s progress … I do not want influence through guardianship, I do not want influence through intrusion. That’s not the century that’s being built today,” said Macron.

We have decided to reform the CFA franc with three major changes (…) including the change of name “and” stopping the centralization of 50% of the reserves in the French Treasury, “said Mr. Ouattara during at a joint press conference on the second day of the French president’s visit to Côte d’Ivoire.

Emmanuel Macron described this decision as “major historic reform”. “The Eco will see the light of day in 2020, I welcome it,” he added, adding that the CFA franc was “perceived as one of the vestiges of Françafrique”.

This reform has been negotiated for six months, according to a French source, between France and the eight countries of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA): Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.

It does not currently concern the six Central African countries which use the CFA franc but which form a separate monetary zone.

Paris said it was “open” to this development after multiple discussions with African capitals, while the controversy over this currency had again grown in recent months.

The “franc of the French colonies in Africa” was created in 1945 and became the “franc of the African Financial Community” after independence.

The fixed parity with the euro of the CFA franc, the future Eco, maintained (1 euro = 655.96 CFA francs), but this point is likely to change when the common West African currency comes into being.

Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), issued the following statement today on the reform of the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU)’s CFA franc framework:

“I welcome the reforms to the WAEMU’s CFA franc currency arrangement that were announced today by Presidents Ouattara and Macron in Abidjan. They constitute a key step in the modernization of long-standing arrangements between the West African Economic and Monetary Union and France.

“The announced measures build on WAEMU’s proven track record in the conduct of monetary policy and external reserve management. In recent years, the WAEMU has recorded low inflation and high economic growth, the fiscal situation has improved, and the level of foreign exchange reserves has increased.

“The reforms also maintain key elements of stability that have served the region well, including the fixed exchange rate with the euro and the guarantee of unlimited convertibility provided by France.

“The IMF stands ready to engage with the regional authorities, as needed, and to support the implementation of this important initiative.”

Barkhane: French troops neutralise militants

French troops neutralised 33 militants on in Mali near the border with Mauritania, French President Emmanuel Macron said. (Image: archive)

“This morning, thanks to an engagement by our soldiers and the Barkhane forces, we were able to neutralize 33 terrorists, take one prisoner and free two Malian gendarmes who had been held hostage,” Macron said during in a speech in Ivory Coast.

French army command confirmed the death toll in the operation, taking place overnight near the Mauritanian border about 150 km northwest of the town of Mopti in Mal.

Sahel meeting in Paris postponed

Today at doorstep of the European Council  in Brussels French President Macron announced the a postponement to early 2020 of a meeting of Sahel countries, he said.

I made the decision yesterday with President Issoufou to postpone” the summit “because of the many deaths that Niger unfortunately suffered two days ago,” said Emmanuel Macron on Thursday upon his arrival at the European Council in Brussels.

The decision to postpone the event, which was to address French military presence in the region as well as the fight against terrorsit groups engaged in jihad, follows an attack on a remote military camp in Niger.

Islamist militants killed 71 soldiers in an attack on a military camp located near the border with Mali, an army spokesman said on Wednesday, in the deadliest raid against the Nigerien military in living memory.

AMENDED:

The attack on the the military camp near border with Mali lasted three hours, and claimed lives of 71 soldiers, and forced President Mahamadou Issoufou to shorten his trip to Egypt.

Announced  early December by the French head of state at the end of the NATO summit in London, the African event was aimed to bring together the leaders of the G5 Sahel (Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad) and clarify the framework of intervention of France in the region.

“It is a need that responds to the observation of growing incomprehension in national public opinion, in the Sahel and in France,” said a source at the Elysée Palace. “You have to be able to come out of this summit with a common expression that recalls why France is there to support.”

Launched in August 2014, Operation Barkhane mobilizes some 4,500 French soldiers against the jihadist groups active in the region, soldiers called to be replaced by G5 Sahel force made up of 5,000 men from the local armies.

But in recent years, the French presence and that of 13,000 Blue Helmets of the MINUSMA  in Mali have been questioned by inhabitants and militants who denounce “occupation forces”.

France: tribute to Africans soldiers

Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to the Second World War heroes of the landing in Provence on August 15, 1944, a majority of African soldiers who wrote this “crucial page” of the history of France, imprinted it with “freedom and dignity“. African participation amounted up to a half  of the French contingent, indigenous soldiers from what are now some two dozen independent countries.

France has a part of Africa in it and on the soil of this Provence, this part was that of bloodshed”, Macron said during his visit to Saint-Raphaël (Var). Alongside President Guinean Alpha Condé and his counterpart from Cote d’Ivoire Alassane Ouattara, French head of state laid a wreath in honor of died of this battle.

Emmanuel Macron has called on the mayors of France to “bring to life” the memory of African soldiers who fell in battle during the Second World War by giving their names to streets and squares, because the African fighters have not had the “glory and esteem that their bravery deserved”.

We will never forget anything or anyone;” he said. “This is a crucial page in our history,” he added. “You have restored our country’s freedom and dignity.”

Two months after the landing of Normandy, 250,000 men of the French army, supported by more than 120,000 soldiers of the Allied forces, land on the shores of Provence.

A military choir sang “The Song of the Africans,” while some veterans chanted with them. Fighter jets flew over the necropolis, trailing blue, white and red smoke to represent the French flag.

The former President of the Republic Nicolas Sarkozy appeared among the invited by Emmanuel Macron to the ceremony 75th anniversary of the landing of Provence in Saint-Raphael, in the Var.

Armistice: in memory of colonial troops

The Beninese artist Angélique Kidjo sang in memory of the colonial troops, during a grand Armistice commemoration ceremony  in Paris a few days after the homage paid by Emmanuel Macron and the Mali president Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta in Reims to the 200,000 soldiers of the “black force” engaged in the First World War.

Taking place in rain at the foot of the Arc de Triomphe, the moving ceremony was opened by “Sarabande” of Bach interpreted by the American cellist Yo-Yo Ma and concluded by the Ravel bolero played by the youth orchestra of the European Union.

In front of a crowd of leaders gathered under a tent, high school students read, in different languages, testimonies of the fighters of the “Great War” which mobilized 70 million soldiers, made 10 million dead and 20 million wounded among the combatants.

On  November, 7 President Macron honoured the fromer  colonial troops who fought alongside the French with Mali‘s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita in Reims, a city defended by the African soldiers.

 

EU asylum reform imminent

According to French President Emmanuel Macron, the EU lacks solidarity and efficiency concerning migration. He underlined that the European borders must have better protection, whereas the mechanism of granting asylum must be unified. French president further pointed out that Europe’s response to migration crisis was outdated and reform was needed.

The meeting between the new Italian Prime minister Giuseppe Conte and the French president was jeopardized by a war of words following Rome’s decision to repel vessel #Aquarius carrying some 600 illegal migrants rescued in the Mediterranean.

During the press conference after the meeting with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, French President Emmanuel Macron noted that talks of “axis” countries on migration are a reminder of “Europe’s unfortunate past history,” referring to the earlier remarks of Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz that German, Austrian and Italian interior ministers form “axis” against illegal immigration.

As a possibility Macron and Conte offered to establish asylum processing centres in Africa, to prevent people risking their lives when crossing Mediterranean.

Libya conference in Paris

This week the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini attended the International Conference on Libya organised in Paris, the event aims to support the United Nations ongoing work to forge a lasting solution to the crisis in Libya and implement the UN action plan.

The European Union continues to encourage and accompany the political process in Libya under the lead provided by the United Nations, including within the Libya Quartet together with the African Union and the League of Arab States.

The diplomat  had a number of bilateral meetings in the margins of the conference. In the afternoon, the same day Mogherini addressed  the situation in Libya at the plenary meeting of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

The Paris meeting, included eastern Libya leader Marechal Khalifa Haftar, backed by Tobruk Parliament; Tripoli Prime minister Fayez el-Sarraj, backed by the UN, and the leaders of rival parliamentary assemblies, aimed to urge them to agree general principles for ending the conflict and moving towards elections.

Although there were signatures, the conference was concluded by a statement, fixing elections on December, 10, however there should be a legal framework adopted mid-September.

“The parties have committed to set the constitutional basis for elections and adopt the necessary electoral laws by September 16, 2018 and hold Parliamentary and Presidential elections on December 10, 2018,” the statement said.

Macron launches Slavery Remembrance Foundation

Emmanuel Macron announced his support to the project of Slavery Remembrance Foundation, responsible in particular for education and cultural missions, and the commitment of the V Republic to the abolition of slavery throughout the world.

As conceived  by his predecessor President Francois Hollande  the Foundation will be chaired by former Socialist Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, who has been carrying on the idea of the project, and will be housed at the Hôtel de la Marine, where the abolition of slavery was decreed on April 27 1848.

The Foundation will also help to put slavery back into the long history of France, from the first French colonial empire to the present day,” writes the French President Emmanuel Macron in a statement published on the occasion of the 170th anniversary of the abolition of slavery.

“Because it is impossible to speak of today’s France without mentioning its colonial past, without saying in particular the unique relationship it has with the African continent, this complex and profound relationship which has become an inalienable part of our identities,” the President continued. Emmanuel Macron added that he supports the project of erecting a national memorial to pay tribute to the victims of slavery in the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris.

The project is a continuation of the initiative of President Francois Hollande who chaired the signature ceremony for the statutes of the “public interest grouping that will prefigure the foundation”  at the Elysée Palace on 3 May 2017. Hollande also declared that it  headquarters would be at the Hôtel de la Marine, the very place where Victor Schoelcher signed the decree to abolish slavery.

The French Republic recognized slavery and the slave trade as a crime against humanity first time in 1794, when legally the slavery was described as a “crime of lese-humanity”. On 23 May 1998 thousands of descendants of slaves organised a demonstration in Paris to demand this recognition. The movement continued, and it was enshrined by the act of 21 May 2001, named the ‘Taubira law’. The Republic then officially recognized slavery and the slave trade as crimes against humanity.

 

 

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