France willing to assist Mozambique currently facing terrorists
Emmanuel Macron says France ‘monitoring the situation with a great deal of concern’
PRETORIA, South Africa
French President Emmanuel Macron said Friday his country is willing to assist Mozambique if it requests assistance in combating growing terrorism in northern Cabo Delgado province.
HIGH-LEVEL DIALOGUE: President @CyrilRamaphosa and President @EmmanuelMacron are at the @FutureAfricaUP Auditorium in Tshwane to lead a discussion on their efforts to fight #COVID19 and share their visions for development of long-term capabilities. https://t.co/SrIkvcJJWy pic.twitter.com/6Dn1WUmF2W— Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) May 28, 2021
“We’ve been monitoring the situation with a great deal of concern,” Macron told reporters at a joint media briefing alongside South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Pretoria.
Macron was in South Africa for a state visit and addressed reporters after concluding talks with Ramaphosa.
“France is available but the heart of the answer, it should be an African response at the request of Mozambique and coordinated with the neighboring countries," he said in French.
Macron said his country is available to contribute to naval operations in Mozambique, as his country has vessels in the region, but only after Mozambique requests assistance and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) regional bloc approves.
A militant group believed to be affiliated with the Daesh/ISIS terror group, locally known as al-Shabaab but with no established links to the armed militant group in Somalia, have wreaked havoc in northern Mozambique since late 2017, killing hundreds, displacing communities and capturing towns.
In late March, the group attacked the coastal town of Palma in Cabo Delgado near the border with Tanzania, killing dozens and injuring scores of others.
The Cabo Delgado province is rich in natural gas and companies, including France’s Total SE were set to extract liquefied natural gas (LNG) from offshore sites in the Indian Ocean.
The French energy giant announced in April it is suspending its $20 billion LNG project in Mozambique following militant attacks in Cabo Delgado.
Macron said he discussed the situation in Mozambique with Ramaphosa during his visit and also met with the president of Mozambique last week at a summit in Paris.
“We welcome France’s stance on this [willingness to assist] that they would obviously, much as they can, offer assistance. They will want to work in collaboration with SADC [Southern African Development Community] and Mozambique, recognizing that Mozambique is a sovereign state facing a huge challenge at the moment,” said Ramaphosa.
He added that whatever assistance is offered to Mozambique will be on the basis of cooperation between two cooperating states.
He said Mozambique needs different forms of assistance, including humanitarian, economic and technical to capacitate their armed forces.
Ramaphosa also said that SADC, a regional block of 16 countries, is ready to assist its member state to wade off insurgents and ensure they restore peace and stability.
Ramaphosa said Mozambique told the body in a meeting that they sought help from different partners in the world but the SADC would have to first endorse the help.
The two leaders earlier discussed deepening bilateral cooperation within the framework of the Strategic Partnership between South Africa and France and within existing bilateral agreements.
South Africa is France’s largest trading partner in Africa, while France is South Africa’s second-largest trading partner in the EU. France is a major investor in South Africa and a significant development partner.
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