Royal attacks Chirac over Africa policy

14th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Feb 13, 2007 (AFP) - France's Segolene Royal Tuesday launched a scathing attack on President Jacques Chirac's Africa policy, vowing a complete overhaul of relations with the continent if she is elected president.

PARIS, Feb 13, 2007 (AFP) - France's Segolene Royal Tuesday launched a scathing attack on President Jacques Chirac's Africa policy, vowing a complete overhaul of relations with the continent if she is elected president.

In remarks released on the eve of an Africa-France summit in southern France, the Socialist candidate accused Chirac of nurturing ties with the continent's "most questionable regimes", and the centre-right of a "culpable immobility" towards Africa.

"For the past five years, the French right has been at the origin of unprecedented disorders on the African continent," she charged in the text to appear Thursday in the Christian weekly Temoignage Chretien.

"Jacques Chirac's conception of the French presidency has a lot to answer for," she said.

"By systematically favouring personal friendships at the expense of the general interest, the president's behaviour has harmed our country's image, linking it in the minds of African men and women with the most questionable regimes on the continent," she said.

Royal said the terms of France's "defence and cooperation agreements with several African countries will have to be clarified and if necessary renegotiated."

She also called for any armed intervention by French forces in Africa to be debated in the National Assembly.

"The multitude of improvised military interventions in support of supposedly friendly regimes in Chad or the Central African Republic, diverts us from the development goals that should take priority," she said.

France still has military bases in five African countries: Chad, Djibouti, Gabon, Ivory Coast and Senegal -- a holdover from the Cold War when France the only western country to have pre-positioned forces on the continent.

Royal said France's key objectives in Africa should be to "help the continent move towards sustainable growth", tackle the debt problem, develop micro-credit and support the work of non-governmental organisations.

"France must once again carry a message of democracy, solidarity, peace and defence of human rights in Africa," she said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Preseidential election, Segolene Royal

0 Comments To This Article