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Meeting between Diomaye Faye and Emmanuel Macron: a turning point in Franco-Senegalese relations?

Senegal's President Bassirou Diomaye Faye is welcomed by French President Emmanuel Macron before a working lunch, Thursday, June 20, 2024 at the Elysee Palace in Paris.   -  
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Thibault Camus/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.


Senegalese President Bassirou Diomaye Faye arrived in France on Wednesday for his first visit since his election in March this year. Invited to France as part of the Global Forum for Vaccine Sovereignty and Innovation, president Faye is meeting Emmanuel Macron for lunch at the Élysée Palace on Thursday. Trade agreements between the two countries, the CFA franc and the French military presence in the country are also on the agenda for discussion.

In May, Senegal's Prime Minister Ousmane Sonko said the country's wish to determine its path was "incompatible with the entrenched presence of foreign military bases" on Senegalese soil.

Before taking off for Paris on his first trip outside Africa, Bassirou Diomaye Faye made a series of visits to neighboring countries including Mauritania, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Sierra Leone.

The meeting between Emmanuel Macron and Bassirou Diomaye Faye could ease tensions linked to the political crisis in Senegal that preceded the new president's arrival in power. Between 2021 and 2024, the legal battle between Pastef leader Ousmane Sonko and the former Senegalese government led to several periods of unrest, resulting in dozens of deaths and hundreds of arrests.

Senegal and France have historically maintained strong political and economic relations. However, Faye, a left-wing pan-Africanist, has insisted such partnerships should be mutually beneficial.

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