“What has been said recently is outrageous,” the French President, Emmanuel Macron, said speaking on the anti-French sentiment in the G5 Sahel region, during a joint press conference with G5 Sahel leaders at the summit in Pau. In response to accusations that France has a “hidden agenda” in the Sahel, he said, “our only interest is to help fight terrorism and restore the stability and sovereignty of the states where we are present.”
Macron stressed that the Operation Barkhane is a response to the request of the G5 Sahel countries to support them in counterterrorism activities, and the operation will cease if they say they don’t need it anymore. “Each time a state asks the French army to leave, we leave,” the leader said.
Responding to a journalist, Macron also argued that the demonstrations are being fueled by outside forces. “I hear a lot of things ... people saying anything and everything. Ask yourself who pays them and what interests they serve. I have my own idea […] either they serve terrorist groups...or they serve the interests of other foreign powers who simply want to set Europeans aside because they have their own agenda, a mercenary agenda.”
For the time being, France is not leaving the Sahel since an additional 220 troops will soon be deployed to the region to support the 4,500 soldiers of the Barkhane Force. “They (the G5 Sahel countries, ed) ask us for help [...], it is our responsibility to help them,” said Emmanuel Macron.
Moutiou Adjibi Nourou