French military presence in Ivory Coast ‘begs’ for “remodeling” — Macron’s Africa envoy

French military presence in Côte d’Ivoire should be “remodeled” or “reshaped”, Jean-Marie Bockel, French President Emmanuel Macron’s envoy for Africa, said on Wednesday (21 February) during a visit to Abidjan and his first on the continent since taking office in early February.
“The term remodel seems to me to be the right term. The spirit is to come with proposals, listening and then a dialogue which results in a winning agreement for both parties,” declared the former Secretary of State for Defense and Veterans Affairs at the result of a one-hour “rich exchange” with Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara. He also mentioned “other aspects which already exist in terms of improving support for the Ivorian military presence in the northern zone, questions of intelligence, questions of development of this or that element of the army (…), to which our friends Ivorians are attached, on which we have a certain partnership, committed expertise”.
France has nearly 950 soldiers within the French forces in Ivory Coast, and nearly 10,000 forces in sub-Saharan Africa. Bockel was tasked by the French president with discussing with African partners new forms of French military presence on their soil, in Senegal, Ivory Coast, Gabon and Chad. “We don’t want to reduce our efforts but it’s a global thing: there will be developments, the footprint will be less on certain aspects and stronger on others,” Bockel said, without giving details. The French soldiers were in turn driven out of Mali, Burkina Faso and then Niger, three West African countries governed by military regimes that came to power through coups and are now openly hostile to France.

About Geraldine Boechat 2680 Articles
Senior Editor for Medafrica Times and former journalist for Swiss National Television. former NGO team leader in Burundi and Somalia