Mali : the first steps of Macron hors d'Europe

For his first trip outside ofEurope, the French president Emmanuel Macron has called on Friday in Mali in front of his counterpart Ibrahim Boubacar Keita to accelerate the peace process on the French military base in Gao, the main town in the north of the country. Less than a week after his inauguration, the head of the State expressed its ” determination ” to continue the commitment to the Sahel by strengthening the cooperation with theGermany, but also in complementing military action by a strategy of development. On his arrival in the morning, Emmanuel Macron, in this blue night, was greeted at the descent of the Falcon presidential by Ibrahim Keita, boubou white, came to the capital city of Bamako.

They reviewed the troops on the basis of the French operation Barkhane, which involves 4 000 soldiers in 5 countries (Mali, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger, and Chad), of which 1 700 in office Gao currently, in the fight against the jihadists in the Sahel. The French president, accompanied by his ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian (Europe and foreign Affairs) and Sylvie Goulard (Armies), as well as by the director general of the French development Agency (AFD), Rémy Rioux, should spend approximately six hours on site, following a busy schedule.

Northern Mali had fallen in march-April 2012 under the thumb of jihadist groups linked to Al-Qaeda, which were in large part driven by the operation Serval, launched in January 2013 at the initiative of France, that Barkhane has taken over in August 2014. But whole areas are still in control of the malian armed forces, the French and the UN (Minusma), regularly referred to by murderous attacks, despite the signing in may-June 2015 of a peace agreement supposed to isolate definitively the jihadists. Since 2015, these attacks are extended in the center and south of the country.

“Let’s do that without barguigner “

Two years after this agreement, the international community regularly expresses his impatience in the face of the accumulated delays in its implementation, including against the malian government. “My wish is that we accelerate,” said Emmanuel Macron during a joint press conference with Ibrahim Keita after an interview. “We know where are the main difficulties and what we need to do. Let’s do without barguigner “, he launched. The head of the French State is also said to be ready to go, at the invitation of its host mali, in a meeting “in the coming weeks” of the G5 Sahel, which brings together the countries of the area.

The G5 Sahel, adopted a plan providing for the creation of a joint force made up of 5,000 soldiers, police and civilians to fight against the jihadist groups and securing the common borders of member countries. Emmanuel Macron has also advocated increased participation of other european countries in the fight against the jihadists, in particular Germany, the first contributor to the european to the Minusma. “I hope that the German can step up, I mentioned on Monday with [the chancellor] Angela Merkel, it is also his will,” he said. He said it fits in with the continuity of his predecessor, François Hollande, in his determination to fight militarily the jihadist groups in the Sahel, but also wanting to make a ” grand voluntarism in development “.

An approach challenged

The account of AFD, “a little over 470 million euros [help] have been decided on the area for years to come, to support this military effort,” said Emmanuel Macron, led in this effort to ” enable the population to live a better life […] the best antidote to the development of islamist terrorism “. He was then flown in a helicopter over Gao, and the loop of the Niger river, at low altitude, under the cameras of televisions shipped to aboard a helicopter. While 25 journalists are moving, a dozen companies of journalists, directors, editors, and Reporters without borders protested on Thursday against the organization of its communication, in particular the choice of the journalists accompanying him in Mali.

Even before this visit, several humanitarian organizations have called on Paris to relinquish the only military approach to resolve the violence shaking the Country. The French policy in Africa is too ” purely military “, argues the international Federation of leagues of human rights (FIDH). Same diagnosis for the NGO Human Rights Watch who has advised Emmanuel 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.” Ten-seven French soldiers have been killed in Mali since the launching of Serval in 2013, according to a count by Agence France-Presse.

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