Joint Statement issued by France and the African Union Commission during the first strategic dialogue devoted to regional integration and multilateral challenges (Paris, 11 June 2019)

Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs, and Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, held the first session of the strategic dialogue between France and the African Union Commission today, as announced by President Macron and the chairperson of the Commission on March 13 in Addis Ababa.

The minister and the chairperson of the Commission notably discussed the situations in Sudan, the Central African Republic, the Sahel, the Lake Chad Basin and Somalia as well as the fight against terrorism, trafficking and irregular migration. With respect to all of these issues, they agreed on the relevance of cooperation and consultations between the African Union (AU) and its bilateral and multilateral partners, especially the UN and the EU. Both parties agreed on the importance of continuing to look for long-term predictable financing of peacekeeping operations under AU and UN Security Council mandates. They stressed the importance of continuing to coordinate their efforts on the multilateral issues of disarmament and non-proliferation, the protection of human rights and criminal justice.

Both parties expressed their deep concern at the deteriorating security situation in the Sahel, with the spread of the terrorist threat and the increase in inter-communal violence. They expressed their solidarity with the affected countries. Jean-Yves Le Drian and Moussa Faki Mahamat discussed the situation in Sudan in detail. Both parties expressed their deep concern and reiterated their strong condemnation of the violence, especially the violence committed on June 3 in Khartoum which resulted in the death of a very large number of civilians. In this respect, the French party welcomes the request made by the AU Peace and Security Council to the chairperson of the AU Commission to investigate the bloody events of June 3 in Sudan in coordination with the actors concerned, notably the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

The French party expressed its full support for the efforts of the AU, in consultation with IGAD, to immediately resume negotiations on establishing a civilian-led transitional authority as soon as possible, and specifically for the relevant decisions of the AU Peace and Security Council, including Sudan’s suspension from the AU’s bodies. France supports all initiatives that the AU may take in order to make progress toward finding a political solution to the crisis and achieving a peaceful and civilian transition and expresses its willingness to work with its EU partners toward that end.

The minister and the chairperson applauded the historic entry in force, on May 30, of the agreement establishing the African Continental Free-Trade Area. Mr. Le Drian reaffirmed France’s determination to support the implementation of this initiative, together with the European Union. Through the French Development Agency (AFD), France will contribute two million euros to funding a facility for technical expertise on such priority issues as regional economic integration.

The two men highlighted the contribution of regional organizations, and especially the AU, to defending multilateralism. As part of the strategic partnership between the AU and the EU, they decided to step up coordination in international forums, at the G7 summit in Biarritz this August, at the climate action summit in September, and at next year’s France-Africa summit on sustainable cities.

With respect to environmental issues, especially the fight against climate change and the fight for biodiversity, it was judged necessary to step up efforts to raise national contributions as part of the implementation of the Paris Agreement and to boost efforts to develop renewables via the African Renewable Energy Initiative (AREI) and the International Solar Alliance.