Live: Macron arrives in Benin for talks on food supply and security
Issued on: 27/07/2022 – 13:24Modified: 27/07/2022 – 13:25
French President Emmanuel Macron holds talks on Wednesday with Benin’s President Patrice Talon on the second stop of a three-nation tour of Western African states. Macron’s visit comes as several French opposition lawmakers warned of an “alarming” increase in human rights abuses in Benin. Watch FRANCE 24’s live coverage of Macron’s press conference.
The four-day tour, ending in Guinea-Bissau Thursday, marks Macron’s first trip to Africa in his new term as French president as he seeks to reboot France’s post-colonial relationship with the continent.
Topping the agenda will be talks on food supply issues, with African nations fearing shortages, especially of grain due to Russia’s war in Ukraine.
The Benin visit comes as 75 French opposition lawmakers on Tuesday wrote a letter to the president drawing attention to the “alarming” situation of political prisoners in Benin amid a crackdown by the Talon administration on opposition figures.
Security is expected to loom large during Macron’s West African tour, as France prepares to complete its pullout from Mali this year, with countries in the region seeking to head off fears of Islamist insurgencies.
France aims to “respond positively” to requests from Benin and other countries for air support and intelligence to combat Islamist militants, a French official said on Wednesday, as President Emmanuel Macron arrived in the West African state.
The French president is likely to be lauded for championing the return in 2021 of more than a dozen artefacts looted from Benin by colonial forces in 1892, soothing a source of friction between Paris and its former possession.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP and REUTERS)