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Vol 43 No 24

Published 6th December 2002

The view from the Seine

France again shows a surer hand in Africa but old allies shouldn't expect an easy ride

France's hyperactive Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin has been on the road again in Africa, visiting six countries in three days last week as he sought to break the deadlock over the Côte d'Ivoire crisis. And this was not his first trip south of the Sahara since his appointment in May. His schedule has combined urgent personal intervention - in Madagascar, for example - and the cementing of long-standing friendships with the likes of Gabon's President Omar Bongo.

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