For his first trip outside of Europe, the president and Emmanuel Macron visits Friday on the basis of Gao in Mali, to give a new dimension to the commitment of France, on location for the past four years to combat the jihadists. Less than a week after his inauguration, the head of the State not only wants to mark his “determination” to continue the commitment to the Sahel but also enroll in a strengthened cooperation withGermany. It wants to complement the military action by a strategy of development aid, said his entourage, as the claim of humanitarian organizations.
He will be accompanied by his ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian (Europe and foreign Affairs) and Sylvie Goulard (minister for the Armed forces), as well as by the director general of the French development Agency (AFD) and Rémy Rioux. Twenty-five journalists will also be moving, so that a dozen companies of journalists, directors, editors, and Reporters without borders protested on Thursday against the organization of its communication, including the choice of journalists accompanying him in Mali.
“Pulse of the franco-German “
On his arrival, he will be welcomed by malian president Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, with whom he had an interview on the fight against terrorism, the record of the sahel, the political aspect of the matter and the difficult implementation of the peace agreements in 2015. The new head of the Armed forces also apply to the 1 600 soldiers deployed on the basis of Gao in the framework of operation Barkhane, will present the various components of the device, according to the same source. The Élysée has chosen the Gao because it is the most important base of the French forces engaged at the outside.
More than François Hollande, the new president wants to put the emphasis, according to his entourage, on international cooperation in the fight against terrorism, with the other european countries, notably Germany, the first contributor to Minusma, the peacekeeping mission of the UN peace-keeping in Mali. France wants ” an impulse to franco-German Europe plays a growing role in the records of security and defence, including those of Africa and the Sahel “. A question already raised on Monday with Angela Merkel.
The other new axis displayed : to articulate a more military approach with the development policies, as manifested by the presence of the director general of the AFD, pointed out the president’s entourage. It is this that require several humanitarian organizations, for which the only military approach will not solve the violence shaking the Country. The French policy in Africa is too ” purely military “, and must ” invest in the governance sector “, particularly in “the fight against impunity” in ” redirecting its assistance towards justice “, argues the international Federation of leagues of human rights (FIDH), condemns Mali, ” a level of insecurity is unprecedented.” Same diagnosis for the humanitarian organization Human Rights Watch, which calls on the president Macron to ” urge the president of Mali to address frontally the problems that have led to decades of instability, including weak governance, endemic corruption and the abuses committed by the forces of order.”
Northern Mali had fallen in march-April 2012 under the thumb of jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda, which have been largely driven out by an international military intervention launched in January 2013 at the initiative of France. Whole areas are still in control of the malian armed forces, the French and the UN, regularly referred to by attacks, despite the signing in may-June 2015 of a peace agreement supposed to isolate definitively the jihadists. Some 17 French soldiers were killed in Mali since the intervention Serval in January 2013, which was succeeded in August 2014, operation Barkhane (4 000 men), spread over five countries of the Sahel (Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad), according to a count by the AFP. In Mali, in addition to the 1 600 French soldiers are in addition to the 12 000 soldiers of the Minusma.