Presidents’ talks focus on African peace and security

Rwanda – Statements by M. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic, at his joint press conference with Mr Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda (excerpts)

Paris, 23 May 2018

(…)

President Kagame and I decided to work together pragmatically on subjects of common interest to our two countries, and there are many. That’s what we discussed at length in our subsequent bilateral meeting. Peace and security in Africa, support for innovation, the climate and the environment, and linguistic and educational issues are a few examples. We in no way underestimate the difficulties of the past and the complexity of the bilateral relationship: on the contrary, I think I can say we’re determined to take on board that complexity, overcome it and think about the future of our young generations, which has to be built together. That’s what we want to move towards; it will probably take time, but I think I can say we’re not just genuinely committed but have a desire to get things done.

What brings us together today, in addition to this week’s meeting on technology and innovation, is peace and security issues in Africa. President Kagame, as serving Chairperson of the African Union, has committed himself personally and resolutely to a reform of the African Union, because there’s a strong belief the President and I absolutely share, namely the need for us Europeans on the one hand, and Africans on the other, to shoulder our responsibilities and our security. And to that end, we also believe in strong multilateralism. (…)

In this regard, I’m convinced that it’s in our collective interest to support the strengthening, and therefore the long-term and predictable funding, of African peace operations. I’ve already committed to this several times, we’ve agreed to work together closely on this essential issue, and incidentally at the beginning of July I’ll be going [to talk] mainly but not solely about it at the African Union summit in Nouakchott, where we’ll therefore have the opportunity to meet again. Rwanda also plays an essential role in peacekeeping on the African continent, and I want to thank it here for its very special commitment.

We discussed several current crises where President Kagame’s role and work is important, and France will support the action carried out with several other states. I’m thinking in particular of the Central African Republic, which more than ever needs all international, regional and national players to mobilize, and we’ve decided to coordinate and consult very closely on this to support the African Union’s action. We’ve agreed to consult one another more to make sure the Central African Republic doesn’t plunge into a new cycle of violence and instability.

We also talked about the situation in the Sahel region – you know how much it’s our priority – where work has also been done very closely with the African Union from the outset. I think we’ve made genuine progress over the past few years through the structuring of the G5 Sahel forces and deployment of the Alliance for the Sahel. But we’d like to do even more, and the African Union’s concrete intervention in terms of troop training and the support initiative is wholly desirable.

We also talked about the situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo; I think the position adopted by the African Union and the countries of the region is essential. I’m very committed to it, and I can say here that we constantly share our analyses and positions, and that France supports the initiative taken by the Chairperson of the African Union in close conjunction with the Angolan President. (…)./.

Published on 06/06/2018

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