The two west African states, Niger and Ivory Coast will be welcoming the French President Emmanuel Macron in the coming days according to a statement revealed by the president’s office on Tuesday.
Emmanuel Macron is expected to begin his visit to the West African nations in Ivory Coast before proceeding to Niger.
The statement describes his 22 December, visit Niamey as a short one when he is supposed to meet his Nigerien counterpart Mahamadou Issoufou. It will be the first meeting between the two since insurgents killed 71 Nigerian soldiers last week.
President Macron is scheduled to spend a few hours on-site for a ceremony to pay tribute to the 71 Nigerian soldiers, the statement added. The trip to Ivory Coast is scheduled for between December 20 and 21. He will also meet with counterpart Alassane Ouattara while in Abidjan.
In 2017, the president spent his birthday (December 22) with troops stationed in Niger. It remains to be seen whether he will visit troops while in Niamey.
Macron’s meeting with President Issoufou will allow them to prepare for the security meeting scheduled for the town of Pau (southwest of France) on January 13. The meeting is to be attended by presidents of the five countries of the Sahel.
The two leaders had earlier this month agreed to postpone the meeting scheduled for late December. It was called in the wake of an incident that killed French soldiers serving in Mali.
This summit was requested by the French president who said he wanted his Sahelian counterparts to give clearer support to the French military presence in the Sahel. Macron said anti-French sentiments had spiked as a result of its Sahel mission.