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Barkhane: Will the G5 Sahel Presidents respond to Macron's invitation? - RFI


They were invited to Pau (France) on December 16th to clarify their position on the French military presence and anti-French feeling

By RFIPubliée on 06-12-2019Modified on 06-12-2019 at 23:12

They were invited to Pau (France) on December 16th to clarify their position on the French military presence and the anti-French sentiment that is rising in particular in Mali.

This request for clarification, publicly formulated by the French president on December 4 , is decisive because according to Emmanuel Macron, it conditions the maintenance of the French presence. If these remarks do not pass with a part of the public opinion, in particular in Mali, and are therefore very commented, on the official side, it is for the moment the silence.

The G5 leaders have so far publicly not commented on the invitation of Emmanuel Macron, nor publicly given their response.

With one exception, and not the least: that of Roch Marc Christian Kaboré. The president of Burkina Faso is the only one to have made it known that he would go to France.
" We will respond to this invitation and we will have the opportunity to speak frankly, " he told reporters who questioned him after a ceremony.

From official source, Roch Marc Christian Kaboré was invited by the French president himself. According to our information, Emmanuel Macron also called the other leaders of the G5, before making public his invitation. The Elysee ensures that none has reported its refusal to come, says an Elyos source. But if they come, what state of mind will these heads of state be?

France, a scapegoat ?

For the time being, no information has been filtered on the side of Mali or the Niger side. In Chad, a government source simply assures that nothing stands in the way of the arrival of President Déby in France, in principle, even if it is supposed to be the next day in Libreville for a subregional summit.

In Mauritania, this invitation does not seem to be debated at the moment. The country is not concerned by the operation Barkhane and no hostile feeling to the French military is expressed. " We are very comfortable with this invitation as long as the diplomatic forms are respected " summarizes an official.

Barkhane's action is increasingly stigmatized in the region , with some even accusing him of defending French economic interests. But this anti-French speech is sometimes relayed by politicians, moved Wednesday Emmanuel Macron. In particular, statements last June Sherif Sy, Burkina Faso's Minister of Defense. He said about Barkhane's soldiers: "If they really wanted to, they could have beaten them, " he said of the terrorists. And the minister wondered then: " Do the French have other priorities? "

Other remarks by some elected officials and public figures in Mali also displeased. France is anxious to see that Bamako and Ouagadougou thus allow such a discourse of rejection to develop. " It seems that the French presence becomes the easy scapegoat ," laments a French diplomat.

    On the same subject

    Operation Barkhane: Emmanuel Macron speaks frankly to the presidents of the Sahel

    French soldiers dead in Mali: Liptako Gourma, fighting zone

    Sahel: Libya remains a factor of instability for African leaders


    Source: rfi

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