Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

France's president, wife arrive in South Africa for 2-day visit

France's president, wife arrive in South Africa for 2-day visit

French President Nicolas Sarkozy hinted at changes in France's military role in Africa in an interview published Thursday in Johannesburg's The Star newspaper.
"I think that times have changed and that France has no call to play a policing role in Africa," Sarkozy is quoted as saying the day he arrived in South Africa for a two-day visit expected to cement political and economic ties.
Policing was a role for the African Union and regional African organizations, and France would help those organization play a more active decisive role in peacekeeping, the French leader said.
"It is for this reason that I have decided to review the framework of this military presence and its objects," Sarkozy is quoted as saying in the interview. He said he would describe "these new directions" in a speech to the South African Parliament scheduled later Thursday.
France has thousands of troops at four military bases in Africa, the largest at Djibouti in the Horn of Africa. The other bases are at Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean and in Senegal and Gabon in West Africa. France has also troops in Ivory Coast, Chad and Central African Republic.
Sarkozy and his new wife Carla Bruni were upon arrival in South Africa Thursday by President Thabo Mbeki for talks likely to include the bid by French company AREVA to build South Africa's second nuclear reactor before a rival bid by a consortium led by U.S. company Westinghouse.
Sarkozy is accompanied by 40 French business leaders including chief executive officer Ann Lauvergeon of AREVA, which built South Africa's Koeberg nuclear power plant.
South Africa is suffering from energy shortages that have badly impacted its mining sector, and sees the expansion of its nuclear energy program as the way to solve the crisis in the long term.
South Africa's foreign ministry said the talks also would aim to boost French investment in the areas of transport, energy, automotive and aeronautics.
On foreign issues, the leaders were likely to discuss the crises in Sudan and Chad _ where Sarkozy stopped briefly Wednesday.
Sarkozy will also tour Robben Island and meet Nelson Mandela on Friday.


Updated : 2021-08-01 10:11 GMT+08:00