France warns African rulers

ROLAND DUMAS, the French Foreign Minister, warned African governments yesterday that France could stop its aid to those which refused to bow to pressure to reform.

In an interview with the Bordeaux daily Sud-Ouest, Mr Dumas said President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire 'would be very wrong not to conform to the will of his people'. Philippe Bernard, the French ambassador to Zaire, was killed on Thursday when the French embassy in Kinshasa was sprayed with automatic fire as troops loyal to the President tried to put down a mutiny over pay.

But the warning was equally applicable to Togo where troops fired on unarmed demonstrators last week before the eyes of Marcel Debarge, the French Co-operation Minister. Over the weekend, an 11-year-old French boy was killed by a stray bullet in the Togo capital of Lome.

Mr Dumas said France had 'to facilitate the democratic process, encourage it and make leaders understand that it is in their interest'. He added: 'To do this we dispose of diplomatic, economic and financial means and our co- operation can be stopped from one day to the next.' Last week about 150 French troops flew to Kinshasa from Bangui in the Central African Republic to supervise the evacuation of French citizens. Some Europeans, principally Belgian residents, crossed the Congo River to Brazzaville.

Turmoil in Africa has added to the burdens on the French armed forces, which are playing important roles in United Nations operations in Cambodia, Somalia and former Yugoslavia. France has a tradition of direct intervention in African crises. In the 12 years since Francois Mitterrand was first elected, French troops have put down rebellions in the Comoros, Gabon, Rwanda, Togo and Zaire, as well as backing the government of Chad.

In 1990 Mr Mitterrand promised 'a bonus for democracy' at a summit with French-speaking African leaders, starting a French policy of encouraging democratisation on the continent. In Togo, however, France has been reluctant to take measures against the government. Although the US, the EC and Germany suspended aid a year ago to put pressure on the government for democratic reform, France has so far only stopped military co-operation.

Mr Dumas said France's obligations in Africa were 'limited to the security of countries with which we have agreements and to that of French communities in countries where they are threatened by turmoil'.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Managing Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of refrigeration, mechan...

Recruitment Genius: Advertisement Sales Manager

£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A publishing company based in F...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - Affiliates & Partnerships

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This multi-award winning foreig...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Structural Engineer

£17000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Graduate Structural Engineer ...

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor