FRANCEAFRICA The new foreign legion 18th May 2001 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.