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The Prime Minister of Senegal does not want French troops in his country

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Senegal's desire for self-determination is incompatible with the long-term presence of foreign military bases, said the West African country's new prime minister, Ousmane Sonko. President Emmanuel Macron announced at the end of last year that France would significantly reduce its military presence in Africa in the coming months.

Sonko delivered a speech at a conference on the future of relations between Africa and Europe organized in Dakar at the end of the week.

While criticizing the presence of foreign military bases in his country, he assured that he was not questioning the existing defense treaties that Senegal had signed with Western capitals. However, he considered the military presence France in his country and throughout the continent raises justified concerns, especially in the context of the sovereignty of African states.

Franco-Senegalese military exercises Xaritoo 2023Cem Ozdel/Anadolu via Getty Images

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The criticism of the Senegalese prime minister was listened to by the far-left French politician Jean-Luc Melenchon, who was a candidate in Dakar three times. elections presidential.

Sonko's words do not come as a surprise to France. President Emmanuel Macron already in December last year, he announced that in the coming months France would significantly reduce its military presence in Senegal, but also in Gabon and Côte d'Ivoire. According to information from the daily “Le Monde”, in an extreme case, of the over a thousand soldiers currently stationed in these three countries, only about 100 will remain in each of them.

French bases in Africa

In 2010, Senegal regained control over several military bases belonging to France, of which it was a colony until 1960.

According to the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, there are still about 350 soldiers training Senegalese troops in two military bases in Dakar.

Similar forces are stationed in Libreville, Gabon, and the largest French contingent, numbering nearly 1,000 people, is in Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire. After French units left Mali and Niger For Paris, it is the main logistics center and base for anti-terrorist operations conducted in the Sahel.

French troops in Malidefense.gouv.fr

France still maintains military bases in Djibouti and Chad, which is particularly important for Paris. The interim president of Chad, Mahamat Idriss Deby, strengthened his position on May 6 by winning the elections against Prime Minister Succes Masra, who was a strong opponent of the presence of French forces in the country.

The West is retreating, Russia is entering

But he also tries hard to win Deby's favor Russiawhich has already sent about 130 instructors to N'Djamena.

READ MORE: They arrived and unloaded the equipment. Reuters on Russia's next foothold

The Russians appeared there a few days after the Americans announced the withdrawal of some of their military instructors from Chad, at the express request of the Chadian junta.

The coming months will show whether Russia has managed to push Western troops out of yet another African country.

Main photo source: Cem Ozdel/Anadolu via Getty Images

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