instability in the Sahel at the center of the meeting between Macron and Embaló

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After Cameroon and Benin, Guinea-Bissau is the last stage of Emmanuel Macron’s visit to the African continent. He arrived on Wednesday, July 27 in the evening, and was received by his counterpart Umaro Sissoco Embaló who recently took over the rotating presidency of ECOWAS. After their meeting, the two heads of state held a press conference at the Bissau-Guinean presidency.

With our special correspondents in Bissau, Amelie Tulet and Boris Vicit

The French presidential motorcade has returned to the airport, escorted by the residents of Bissau who came to greet Emmanuel Macron who will return to Paris. It was the first time that a French head of state visited Guinea-Bissau. During their joint conference, the two Heads of State expressed their desire to revive the cooperation between their two countries.

But Emmanuel Macron’s visit also has a regional character. Guinea-Bissau just took over the rotating presidency of ECOWAS in early July: the front-line organization against the juntas that came to power in Mali, Guinea and Burkina after military coups.

Embalo said that he convinced Conakry to reduce the transition period

In this aspect, Umaro Sissoco Embalo admitted that he convinced the Guinean junta to reduce the duration of the transition to 24 months. ” I was in Conakry with the chairman of the commission (of ECOWAS) to make the military junta understand the decision of the summit of the heads of state that the transition will not exceed 24 months. They offered 36 months, but we managed to convince them “, he explained, but the information has not been confirmed by Conakry.

The Bissau-Guinean president also plans to meet with the Malian junta. ” I am here to talk to our Malian brothers, I think we will find an agreement, it is very important that we finish the transfers “. He is confident: I am sure and certain that we will find an agenda in ECOWAS, in accordance with the decision of the last summit in Accra », while insisting on respect for democracy: « We should all be Republicans “.

We will agree. Because it is very important that we finish the transition in Mali, Guinea Conakry and Burkina Faso. And I can also tell you that the creation of an anti-coup force is on the table. This will allow everyone to understand that we are in the 21st century. Coup d’etats are unacceptable, unacceptable.

Umaro Sissoco Embalo, President of Guinea-Bissau

Umaro Sissoco Embalo put on the table the project of creating an anti-coup force. a” interesting track “, according to Emmanuel Macron, but there are no further details at the moment. The French president on the other hand repeated his warning against military groups that, according to him, ” take advantage of the state’s weakness to seize power “.

This visit to Bissau is for Emmanuel Macron the opportunity to repeat his new doctrine: France in support of organizations in the African region. Faced with threats to the stability of the countries, the Bissau-Guinean president wants to invite Emmanuel Macron to the next summit of the institution. An invitation accepted by the French head of state.

The president told me of his desire to organize an ECOWAS summit where he wants to invite France to properly establish this common agenda in the face of terrorist groups. And I want to tell him here my availability and our willingness to cooperate in this direction. »

We discussed above the risk of destabilization caused by the Sahel situation in the entire West African region. I reiterate the determination of the President of France, first of all to remain involved in the Sahel and the entire region, but also to change its doctrine and methods to, on the one hand, support the armies – training, equipment, support – but no. as a substitute (…) thereof; but on the other hand, to insist perhaps that the only strategy that can be effective in the face of the proliferation of terrorist groups is a security agenda in the service of States, but supplemented by a political agenda for the return of the State and his services in territories freed from terrorist groups and a development agenda, projects, creating educational and economic opportunities for the population.

Emmanuel Macron in cooperation with ECOWAS

Bilateral relationship

At the national level, this visit is an opportunity to relaunch French investments in Guinea-Bissau and cooperation between the two countries in various sectors. Umaro Sissoco Embalo welcomed the presence of the French president on Bissau-Guinean soil. ” The president of France, a permanent member of the Security Council, is now with the president of Guinea-Bissau, his brother. We call this unity “. The unity that the President of Guinea-Bissau wants to be seen is expressed at the level of security by supporting the structure of the presidential guard

Economically also for development. Positive response from the French president who said he wants closer cooperation at the agricultural level. ” To avoid pressure from outside powers on the issue of food, we need to make more than what people eat here. There is a possibility that it can be done. It is the responsibility of the country, ours is to do everything to help you through funding, training, accompanying equipment. »

Emmanuel Macron also wants to protect the place of French in the Portuguese-speaking country. And announced the opening of a school in France for the start of the school year in 2023.

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