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Senegal to 'take back' French bases

Senegal to 'take back' French bases

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade announced his country was taking back military bases held by former colonial power France at midnight as the country marked 50 years of independence yesterday.
"I solemnly declare that from 12a.m. local time yesterday, Senegal will take back all the (military) bases formerly held by France and intends to exert its sovereignty," Wade said in an address to the nation on public television.
Wade was speaking Saturday on the eve of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of Senegal's independence from France, on April 4, 1960. As Wade spoke, French Interior Minister Brice Hortefeux was arriving to represent France at yesterday's ceremonies, which will include a military parade in which French soldiers will take part. "This year will be different from the others," said Wade at the start of his speech.
Following independence, Senegal had agreed to let its former colonial masters France keep military bases there, he said. "Over the years, this situation has appeared more and more incongruous and has often been felt by our populations, particularly young people, civil servants and the army, as an incomplete independence," he added.
In Paris, a French defense ministry spokesman told reporters talks between the two countries were ongoing on future cooperation and the maintenance of a smaller French force on Senegalese territory.
On Friday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy raised the question of their military presence in Senegal in a message to Wade, in which he said France wanted to maintain political and military cooperation.
He is not attending the ceremonies in Senegal marking the 50th anniversary of independence.


Updated : 2021-03-06 16:13 GMT+08:00