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France 24
France 24

Senegal’s democratic transition ‘sends positive message to other regimes’, says French FM Séjourné

French diplomat Stéphane Séjourné answers questions from France 24 and RFI in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. © FRANCE 24

At the end of a three-day tour that took him successively to Kenya, Rwanda and Ivory Coast, France's Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné spoke to FRANCE 24 and RFI about relations with Rwanda, reform of the CFA franc, France's military presence in Africa and the wars in Gaza and Ukraine.

French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné gave an exclusive interview to FRANCE 24 and RFI, from Abidjan in Ivory Coast, after completing his first African tour. 

The head of French diplomacy spoke in particular about the issues marking relations between Paris and the states of the African continent.

On France’s actions during the genocide of Rwanda’s Tutsis, which he described as “the last genocide of the 20th century”,  Séjourné said France had “acknowledged responsibility for what was done”.

Read moreGenocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda: how historians reckon with the horror

Reacting to the election of Senegalese opponent Bassirou Diomaye Faye to the presidency, Séjourné said:  “I would like to say to you that the democratic process has worked. There's been a political shift, as has been the case in many countries. Now, there are different policies at play, but I think all of us can be quite happy to see that the Senegalese institutions were strong, that people were able to vote and elections were held in a completely transparent manner.”

“This is what we call a democracy that it is alive, and I think it sends a positive message to other regimes who believe that power only comes through force,” the minister said.

Regarding the new Senegalese president’s decision to do away with the CFA franc, Séjourné said that future of the African currency depends on the "sovereign right" of African states.

“It's not up to France to have a position on the matter,” the minister declared.

When questioned about Russia’s growing presence in Africa, he said “every nation is free to choose whatever partnerships they want to have”, though warning that partnerships with Russia came with strings attached.

“The Russians always seek compensation one way or another, either through primary resources, national resources, or they asked to be paid to provide some form of security,” he said.

Séjourné said it was no longer in Paris's own "interest" to talk to Russia after differing accounts emerged from a rare phone call about last month's deadly attack on a Moscow concert hall.

"It is not in our interest currently to hold discussions with Russian officials because the statements and the summaries issued about them are lies.”

Click on the video player to watch the full interview.

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