France hosts Senegalese President on state visit

Senegal – Bilateral relations/Germany/fight against terrorism – Statements by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, at his joint press conference with Mr Macky Sall, President of Senegal (excerpts)

Paris, 20 December 2016

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The fight against terrorism is a challenge that concerns us all, throughout the world. I haven’t forgotten what’s happened in recent weeks and months in Africa, where attacks have taken place in Burkina Faso but also in Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria and Chad. We’re making active efforts. There’s also the battle we’re fighting against terrorism in Africa. It’s also what allows us, as far as possible, to be safe here in France and in Europe.

The President of Senegal and I shouldered our responsibilities when Mali made an appeal to us in January 2013, and we were able to respond then with a French and African intervention that enabled us to drive back the terrorists. Today our responsibility – I talked to President Macky Sall about it – is to ensure we can continue making Mali secure, and Senegal will play its role in MINUSMA [United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali], particularly in central Mali, where there are still a number of groups we must fight. I’m also aware that Senegal must also guarantee its own security.

Together, for several months already, we’ve been setting out the conditions for cooperation between our armed forces, but also in terms of what we can do for domestic security. Bernard Cazeneuve, then interior minister, now Prime Minister, went to Senegal in October to finalize this cooperation and the implementation of commitments we made together. I wanted this state visit, the first since 1992 – which gives you an idea of its importance – also to coincide with the confirmation of major projects and the signature of numerous agreements.

Among those agreements I emphasize trains, because they’re an ambitious choice for Senegal and a sign of confidence for France. Senegal has decided to build an urban train [network] to enable both its population and its goods to have modern infrastructure. For French businesses, it’s a source of pride, because they were selected to build these trains and ensure their operation. We also wanted to prepare the funding methods for this infrastructure. That’s what we’ve put into practice, through the agreements by the AFD [French Development Agency] and the Finance Ministry.

A second major project close to our hearts is water. It’s about providing modern resources compatible with our climate commitments, in the framework of what President Macky Sall wants to do, namely build new districts, new towns. I remind you that Senegal played a major role in the signature of the Paris Agreement, and there too we have a sign of mutual trust. Nearly a million inhabitants of Dakar will be supplied with water thanks to this project.

Finally, we have very high-level cultural cooperation, because there are, first of all, people who create links between our two countries, high-calibre artists. I’m thinking of Ousmane Sow, who has just passed away, and I know how significant he was; I decorated him myself during my visit to Senegal. Together we’re going to promote – and it was you who took the initiative – cooperation between the Musée du Quai Branly and the major cultural project you want to carry out in Dakar, with the Musée des civilisations noires. (…)./.

Published on 22/12/2016

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