tête a tête

Chad – France: What Mahamat Idriss Déby and Emmanuel Macron discussed

By Jeune Afrique

Posted on July 9, 2021 18:25

The French president received Mahamat Idriss Déby, his new Chadian counterpart, on 5 July at the Elysée Palace in Paris. The two men discussed several important issues, including transition and elections, military arrangements and financial problems.

Emmanuel Macron and Mahamat Idriss Déby met for an hour face to face on 5 July. They discussed the Chadian governmental transition, including the formation of the National Transitional Council (CNT) and the organisation of inclusive national dialogue.

The French president took the opportunity to reiterate his commitment to the principles held by the African Union (AU). These include that the duration of the transition is set at 18 months and the impossibility for members of the Military Transitional Council (MTC), led by the son of the deceased Idriss Déby Itno, to run in the next presidential election.

Reorganisation of the French presence

Macron and his 37-year-old guest also discussed the next G5 Sahel summit of heads of state from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, which will be held on 9 July by video conference. Macron will attend the summit to present the reorganisation of the French military presence in the region.

During their Paris meeting, he presented to Mahamat Idriss Déby the broad outline of how this reorganisation will work. According to our information, the centre of this future operation will be moved from N’Djamena to Niamey, in order to be closer to the Tri-border area. However, an air base and military personnel will remain in the Chadian capital.

The French presence will also be reduced in northern Mali, where bases are expected to close. These changes were well received by Déby, who also confirmed the continued presence of the Chadian battalion of the G5 Sahel joint force in Tera, Niger.

‘Russian provocation’

Still on the security front, Déby returned to the recent incursion of Central African soldiers in Chadian territory. According to him, it was a “Russian provocation”.

He also told Macron about the fragile situation in Sudan and showed his concern about the threat posed by Chadian and Sudanese pro-Haftar militiamen present in Libya. Finally, the two men discussed the worrying financial situation in N’Djamena, which could pose a problem in the short term. This explains the Paris announcement of financial aid.

During his stay in France, Déby was accompanied by his ministers Chérif Mahamat Zene (Foreign Affairs), Tahir Hamid Nguilin (Finance), Daoud Yaya Brahim (Defence) and the head of the National Security Agency (Chadian intelligence), Ahmed Kogri. His half-brother and deputy chief of staff, Abdelkerim Idriss Déby, was also present. The new Chadian president also met with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on the evening of 6 July.

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