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Published 18th May 2001

Vol 42 No 10

The new foreign legion

Paris' African veterans are winning support for new plans to intervene in the continent's wars

Africa needs peacekeepers more than ever just now. France has abandoned its post-colonial policies in West Africa, and has launched a new kind of military-backed diplomacy. The result is Recamp, the Renforcement des Capacités Africaines de Maintien de la Paix, which has just completed its first big meeting in non-French-speaking southern Africa. Last week (8-10 May) in Dar es Salaam 130 military officers and diplomats from 15 African countries, and 20 non-African partners, met for a seminar to prepare Tanzanite 2000-2002, the Recamp exercise due in Tanzania next February (AC Vol 42 No 9). France's diplomatic fortunes in Africa are reviving. After the 1994 Rwanda genocide, the fall of Mobutu Sese Seko in 1997, the coup d'etat in Côte d'Ivoire in 1999, French diplomats are regaining influence in Central and West Africa. Last month's United Nations report on the pillage of Congo-Kinshasa's minerals and calls for sanctions against Rwanda and Uganda (AC Vol 42 No 9) echoed President Jacques Chirac's views on the rebel war and its beneficiaries. Paris has also been strongly backing President Joseph Kabila's new government in Kinshasa; we hear the Elyseé also favours (and is winning support for) the replacement of Congo mediator, Quett Masire, with a Francophone, perhaps Gabon's Omar Bongo.

The old-timers

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Brutality against Kabyle protesters and retired generals cause problems for Boutef

Whatever President Abdelaziz Bouteflika may have achieved during two years in office, it is not peace. Violence continues, involving the Groupe Islamique Armée (GIA) and the...

Unending endgame

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Imagination and innovation are needed if a new war is to be prevented

Postponing rather than hoping to solve the Western Sahara problem, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has extended yet again the life of the UN Mission to the Western Saha...

After Sam, maybe

The founder of the third-term movement may just try for a fourth

It is three years until Namibians must elect their next president, but already there is confusion about President Sam Nujoma's retirement. He pioneered Africa's 'third-term movemen...

In the lobbies

Advice and influence oil the path for African governments with US problems

Business is looking up for the Washington lobby firms that want to work for African governments. New contracts worth several million dollars, plus many more in negotiation, followe...

Queuing for influence

Who's lobbying for whom - and what's it worth - in Angola, Cameroon, Congo-Brazzaville, Côte d'Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Swaziland a...


Lost hope

Ethiopia's security chief, Kinfe Gebre Medhin, was shot four times in the back outside the Armed Forces Officers Club in Addis Ababa on 12 May. The murder hits Prime Minister Meles...


President Frederick Chiluba has sworn that he will not after all seek the unconstitutional third term that he worked so hard to win. On 8 May he reaffirmed: 'I am not going to stan...

Brothers Nguema

The latest intrigues among Equatorial Guinea's ruling family indicate the succession struggle is heating up in Africa's emerging oil emirate. The stakes are high: the country's cur...

Independence vote

Battling a powerful lobby for postponement, President of Somaliland Mohamed Ibrahim Egal is determined to hold a long-delayed constitutional referendum on 31 May. He wants voters t...