French senators push for Sahara sovereignty recognition in African policy shift

French senators push for Sahara sovereignty recognition in African policy shift

In an open letter addressed to President Emmanuel Macron, three French senators alongside 94 parliamentarians from various political backgrounds, have issued a plea for a reconsideration of France’s approach to Africa. 

The letter, signed by these influential lawmakers, placed particular emphasis on the contentious issue of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Sahara region.

The senators  addressed France’s handling of the Sahara dispute, contrasting it with the stances taken by Spain and Germany in recognizing Moroccan sovereignty. 

They asserted that France’s ambivalence on the issue, coupled with a nuanced approach towards Algeria, has driven Morocco to seek partnerships outside the French sphere, both economically and militarily.

In the context of North Africa, the letter cast a critical eye on Algeria’s wavering stance towards France. 

The senators accused Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune of oscillating between warm gestures and harsh criticism of France, thereby complicating diplomatic efforts and straining relations. 

They argued that such oscillation has led some French officials to question the relevance of longstanding agreements dating back to 1968.

The senators expressed their deep concern over what they perceive as France’s diminishing influence and relevance in Africa, specifically referencing the North African context. 

They lamented the series of setbacks and failures, urging the French government to acknowledge the shifting dynamics of power and allegiance on the continent.

The letter pointed to recent developments in various African countries that have seen a rejection of French presence and influence, symbolized by the withdrawal of forces and businesses. 

The senators mentioned the failure of Operation Barkhane and the subsequent emergence of Wagner Group militias, allegedly less concerned with human rights and democracy, as signs of waning French influence.

Turning their attention to Tunisia, the letter highlighted President Kaïs Saïed’s apparent inclination towards countries other than France, indicating a weakening of the historical Franco-Tunisian bond.

In a direct appeal to President Macron, the senators challenged the current trajectory of France’s African policy, particularly in military, economic, and cultural spheres. They suggested that the once-dominant concept of Françafrique has been supplanted by new global players, such as “Russafrique,” “Chinafrique,” and “Américafrique.”

The senators called for a fundamental reassessment of France’s approach to Africa and a reinvigorated connection between the nation and the continent.


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