At the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna provides strategy to Stéphane Séjourné | EUROtoday

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Catherine Colonna, after the council of ministers, at the Elysée, December 12, 2023.

There is one thing thankless about being head of French diplomacy, at a time when it, from the Sahel to the Gaza warfare, is being put to very extreme take a look at. Catherine Colonna, who’s handing over her place as Minister of Foreign Affairs to MEP Stéphane Séjourné, secretary common of Renaissance, has had the bitter expertise since getting into the federal government in May 2022, within the wake of Emmanuel’s re-election Macron. This profession diplomat, 67 years outdated, has by no means actually managed to emerge from the shadow of a head of state very invested in worldwide points, whereas France’s affect faces sturdy headwinds , whether or not in Africa or the Middle East.

Ukraine, Lebanon, Israel, Caucasus, China, Australia… Catherine Colonna elevated the variety of journeys and interventions till the tip. But the previous spokesperson for President Jacques Chirac, who subsequently grew to become Minister for European Affairs within the Villepin authorities, remained largely inaudible. The former ambassador to Italy and the United Kingdom by no means had the political weight, nor the charisma, which might have allowed her to exist with larger authority.

On the opposite, because the outbreak of the warfare between Israel and Hamas, Catherine Colonna had even needed to settle for that the president’s particular envoy for Lebanon, his predecessor Jean-Yves Le Drian, elevated the variety of missions within the area, or that the Minister of the Armed Forces, Sébastien Lecornu, additionally surveyed the bottom on the request of the pinnacle of the state. In mid-December, for one in every of her final journeys, she went together with her protection colleague to Djibouti, within the hope of silencing any rumors of rivalry.

Mood motion of ambassadors

Recently, the temper of a dozen ambassadors based mostly in Arab capitals, who signed a joint observe to warn in opposition to the results within the area of France’s positioning in help of Israel because the assaults of Hamas on October 7, irritated the pinnacle of diplomacy. Among the themes of embarrassment for these ambassadors, the proposal made by Emmanuel Macron, on October 24 in Jerusalem alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to create a global coalition “anti-Hamas” on the mannequin of that carried out in opposition to the Islamic State group, in 2014, underneath the aegis of the United States. The thought, which fizzled as a consequence of lack of help from Tel Aviv and Arab capitals, was launched with out first consulting the international ministry. Some noticed it as one other signal of the contempt proven in the direction of diplomats by the pinnacle of state.

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