French President Emmanuel Macron and Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara have discussed the aftermath of the coup in Niger and the "rapid deterioration" of the security situation in the Sahel at a meeting in the L'Elysée Palace in Paris.
Announced for the beginning of November at the Élysée Palace in Paris, the meeting between the Ivorian and French presidents finally took place this Tuesday.
Ivorian President Alassane Ouattara has been in Paris since Saturday.
Not much has filtered out of the meeting, but many subjects were believed to be on the agenda, notably the issue of visas for Ivoirians.
The two leaders discussed "the Ivorian internal situation" following local and regional elections in September, won by Ouattara's party, and the appointment of a new government.
They discussed civil and military cooperation as well as bilateral economic relations, particularly in the areas of energy transition, transport and urban development.
Cote d'Ivoire : Le Président de la République Alassane Ouattara reçu à l'Élysée par son homologue français Emmanuel Macron ce 21 novembre 2023.#CIV225 #CIV #cotedivoire #france #Alassane_Ouattara pic.twitter.com/ckKH3CMS5H-- Mon afrique (@Monafrique8) November 22, 2023
The future of Niger
Emmanuel Macron reaffirmed France's "full support for President Mohamed Bazoum" in Niger, and recalled that "his release is a prerequisite for any negotiation with the putschists", the French presidency said after the meeting.
Since the coup d'état overthrew Bazoum, he has been sequestered and has refused to submit his resignation.
Macron also reaffirmed his support for the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) "with a view to finding a solution to the Nigerien crisis".
ECOWAS has imposed sanctions on Niger and threatened military intervention to restore constitutional order, without success so far, with Côte d'Ivoire stating they were ready to send a battalion of soldiers.
Regional security issues
The French president "also expressed his concern about the rapid deterioration of the security situation in the Sahel with a growing number of terrorist attacks", added the Elysée.
At least 70 people, mostly children and the elderly, died in killings in north-central Burkina Faso in early November.
After more than ten years of anti-jihadist operations in the Sahel, the French army was pushed out of Mali, Burkina Faso, then Niger, in October, after military coups.
The former colonial power still has several military bases in the region however, especially in Chad, Senegal, Gabon, Djibouti and of course Côte d'Ivoire.