In France, Foreign Minister Louis de Guiringaud has been holding discussions with his counterparts from 24 African countries.
In France, Foreign Minister Louis de Guiringaud has been holding discussions with his counterparts from 24 African countries. Their main concern is African security and French military involvement on the continent.
SYNOPSIS: The talks scheduled to last two days, opened in Paris on Friday (12 May).
The mass meeting at Foreign Minister level was called by Monsieur de Guiringaud, to prepare an agenda for a Head of State meeting in Paris later this month. Reuters report that the talks were also expected to concentrate on the extent of future French military intervention in Africa.
There are now 10,000 French troops stationed on the continent, and in the past 18 months French forces have been in action in Zaire, Mauritan???a and Chad. The governments of the three countries had requested a assistance to fight what they called "foreign aggression". Last month, more than 1,000 French Foreign Legion reinforcements and paratroopers backed by 10 Jaguar fighter-bombers were sent to Chad, to help the government in its struggle against Chad National Liberation Front (FROLINAT) guerrillas. And last year, France sent military equipment and personnel to Zaire, to repel what President Mobuto called a "Soviet and Cuban supported invasion of the southern Shaba province". Political analysists have interpreted such intervention as a clear indication that France is determined to prevent increasing foreign influence in areas where French interests are still strong.