Counterterrorism fight, post-colonial resentment, political situation in Algeria or Guinea: in an interview with Jeune Afrique, Emmanuel Macron takes stock this Friday on many particularly delicate issues, reaffirming the determination of the French armies in the Sahel not to negotiate with terrorists.
While the question of negotiating or not often comes up on the table in the region recently, the French head of state wanted to be categorical: “with terrorists, we do not discuss. We fight ”. “We must be part of the clear roadmap that are the Algiers agreements”, underlined Emmanuel Macron with reference to the peace agreements concluded in 2015 between the central Malian power and former armed groups resulting from the rebellion. Tuareg. “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.
Islamist groups linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) organization have not signed these agreements and have continued or even intensified their actions for five years, killing hundreds.
Barkhane will evolve
The French president also indicated that he would have, “in the coming months decisions to be taken to make Barkhane evolve”, the French force of more than 5,000 men present in the Sahel. A decision was so far expected by the end of the year. Almost a year after sending 600 additional soldiers to the Sahel to regain the advantage against the jihadists, Paris is on the verge of reducing the number of deployed soldiers, concordant sources told AFP in early November.
“I need a clear reiteration of the wish of our partners to see France stay by their side”, underlined the Head of State, who had already requested such a commitment from his counterparts of the G5 Sahel (Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Mauritania) at the top of Pau (southwest of France) in January. Barkhane must “really refocus on our enemies, the EIGS and strictly terrorist groups”, underlined the head of state with reference to the Islamic State in the Great Sahara (EIGS) which is part of the nebula of the ‘IS, and which Paris and its Sahel allies had already designated as the main target at the top of Pau. However, he did not mention the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (JNIM) led by Iyad Ag-Ghali, affiliated with Al-Qaeda.
Russia and Turkey fined
Returning more broadly in this interview to “a strategy at work, sometimes led by African leaders, but above all by foreign powers, such as Russia or Turkey, which play on post-colonial resentment”, Emmanuel Macron called not “to be naive”: “many of those who give voice, who make videos, who are present in the French-speaking media are stipulated by Russia or Turkey”, according to him.
Asked about the Algerian president, infected with the coronavirus and hospitalized since the end of October in Germany, the French president declares that he will do “everything” to “help” Abdelmadjid Tebboune, who is “courageous”, so that “the transition succeeds” in Algeria. The tone is different for Guinea, where President Alpha Condé, reelected for a third consecutive term at the age of 82, is accused by Macron of having “organized a referendum and a change of the Constitution only to be able to keep the power “. “I think the situation is serious in Guinea for its youth, for its democratic vitality and for its progress” also declares the Head of State “.
French President Emmanuel Macron also said he “hopes” to visit Rwanda “in 2021”, a country with which relations have warmed in recent years after decades of tensions linked to France’s controversial role in the 1994 genocide.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr