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courage is contagious

Viewing cable 08PARIS1698, FRANCE'S CHANGING AFRICA POLICY: PART III

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08PARIS1698 2008-09-09 16:04 2011-01-09 00:12 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Paris
VZCZCXRO8725
RR RUEHBC RUEHDE RUEHDU RUEHFL RUEHKUK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHMR RUEHPA
RUEHRN RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHTRO
DE RUEHFR #1698/01 2531654
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
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FM AMEMBASSY PARIS
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 4260
INFO RUEHZO/AFRICAN UNION COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHEE/ARAB LEAGUE COLLECTIVE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING 1771
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 1558
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO 2821
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1246
RUCNDT/USMISSION USUN NEW YORK 1597
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USAFRICOM STUTTGART GE
RHMFISS/HQ USEUCOM VAIHINGEN GE
RHMCSUU/CJTF HOA
RUCJACC/USCINCENT
RUCBCLF/USCINCLANT NORFOLK VA
RHHMUNA/USCINCPAC HONOLULU HI
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 09 PARIS 001698 

SIPDIS 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/09/2018 
TAGS: PREL PINR ECON MARR PHUM XA FR
SUBJECT: FRANCE'S CHANGING AFRICA POLICY: PART III 
(MILITARY PRESENCE AND OTHER STRUCTURAL CHANGES) 

REF: A. PARIS 1501 
B. PARIS 1568 
C. HOTR WASHINGTON DC//USDAO PARIS (SUBJ: IIR 6 832 
0617 08) 
D. HOTR WASHINGTON DC//USDAO PARIS (SUBJ: IIR 6 832 
0626 08) 

1. (C) SUMMARY: France's new Africa policy may have its 
most immediate impact on France's military presence in 
Africa. The French are planning to consolidate their 
military presence and want to orient it towards cooperation 
with Africa's sub-regional groupings (e.g., ECOWAS, SADC, et 
al.) and away from bilateral efforts. They foresee their 
military presence coalescing into two hubs, one on the 
Atlantic Ocean (Senegal or Gabon) and one on the Indian Ocean 
(Djibouti or French overseas department Reunion Island). 
Even these bases may eventually disappear if Africans prove 
capable of maintaining peace and security. Another priority 
will be the renegotiation of France's Defense Agreements with 
eight African countries, which now feature outdated 
provisions from the colonial era. The French announced in 
June 2008 the set of priorities that will henceforth frame 
French economic assistance to Africa. The Foreign Ministry 
is creating a fourth "sous-direction" (akin to a Department 
Office) that will more closely match Africa's sub-regional 
groups, and may also reconfigure French Embassies in Africa 
on a large, medium, and small basis to align priorities with 
budget constraints. END SUMMARY. 

2. (C) Part I of this series (ref A) described the 
"France-Afrique" model that governed France's relations with 
sub-Saharan Africa for most of the 20th century. Even before 
taking office in May 2007, President Nicolas Sarkozy believed 
that relations needed revision in response to globalization, 
changing circumstances, and the waning of the colonial and 
immediate post-colonial periods. He sought a more modern and 
transparent relationship, ostensibly of "equals," that would 
allow both sides to conduct relations on a business-like and 
rational basis. Part II (ref B) discussed France's first 
steps (and missteps) in implementing this policy and African 
reactions to it. This message (Part III) focuses on France's 
military presence in Africa and organizational changes likely 
to occur in conjunction with France's new policy. Post 
welcomes comments from colleagues at U.S. missions in Africa. 

The Bases 
 --------- 
  
 3.  (C)  France has long maintained five permanent military 
 bases with responsibility for Africa -- in Cote d'Ivoire 
 Djibouti, Gabon, Senegal, and on Reunion Island, the French 
 overseas department near Madagascar.  There is a de facto 
 sixth "base" consisting of the long-term operational 
 deployment in Chad (Operation Epervier, in Chad since 1986). 
 Basing issues in the four continental African states (Cote 
 d'Ivoire Djibouti, Gabon, and Senegal) are governed by 
 bilateral Defense Agreements (see below), which include 
 certain provisions obligating France to defend those states 
 from external aggression. 
  
 4.  (C)  COTE D'IVOIRE  The status of the French base remains 
 in doubt given the instability in Cote d'Ivoire and its 
 distinctly anti-French overtones.  The French have stated 
 that they would not remain in places where they were not 
 wanted, and Cote d'Ivoire President Gbagbo has indicated that 
 he would not oppose a French departure.  Prior to the 2002 
 conflict that divided the country, France's military presence 
 consisted of about 550 troops.  Once the current crisis 
 began, the French augmented their presence in the form of 
 Operation Licorne (presently about 1,880 troops), which is 
 working to support the UNOCI peacekeeping mission. 
  
 5.  (C)  Operation Licorne has in effect subsumed France's 
 "permanent" presence in Cote d'Ivoire  Presidential Advisor 
  
 PARIS 00001698  002 OF 009 
  
  
 Romain Serman in June told Ambassador Mary Yates (AFRICOM) 
 that the French military relationship with Cote d'Ivoire 
 would never be the same, and that France's contingent, 
 excluding forces associated with Operation Licorne, was 
 already being treated as a de facto "operational deployment" 
 rather than a permanent garrison.  (See refs D and E for the 
 French Presidency's views on France's Africa policy as 
 expressed to Ambassador Yates and DASD Theresa Whelan in June 
 2008.)   If elections occur successfully in Cote d'Ivoire in 
 2008 and UNOCI and Operation Licorne then disband, we expect 
 that France's military presence will shrink quickly, with a 
 possible French decision to end basing altogether in Cote 
 d'Ivoire 
  
 6.  (C)  DJIBOUTI:  The base in Djibouti is France's largest 
 in Africa, with about 2,950 troops that can operate at sea, 
 on land, and in the air.  These forces use two installations 
 (in the city of Djibouti and in Arta) and include two 
 infantry regiments, a helicopter battalion, Army Special 
 Forces, marine commandos, and a naval element.  The Bouffard 
 military hospital is the only Level III military medical 
 facility in the region and treated survivors of the USS Cole 
 terrorist attack.  French Forces in Djibouti (FFDJ) serve 
 primarily to support the bilateral Defense Agreement.  France 
 provided intelligence and logistical and medical support to 
 Djiboutian forces as recently as July 2008 during Djibouti's 
 border dispute with Eritrea.  Additionally, the base serves 
 as a pre-positioning point for intervention in the Middle 
 East as well as in Africa.  Ref B describes strains in the 
 France-Djibouti relationship (largely over the Borrel case). 
 The future of the French presence in Djibouti may be affected 
 by the base the French intend to establish in the UAE per the 
 agreement the two sides signed on January 15, 2008.  It seems 
 unlikely that the French would maintain two bases in close 
 proximity whose functions would be somewhat redundant. 
  
 7.  (C)  GABON:  The French base in Libreville currently 
 numbers about 800 troops, including an air element (two C130s 
 and one helicopter), and a helicopter-equipped Special Forces 
 unit.  Two parachute companies stationed in Gabon were sent 
 to Chad during the February 2008 rebel incursion. 
  
 8.  (C)  SENEGAL:  The French base in Dakar numbers about 
 1160 troops, with one infantry battalion and air and naval 
 units.  A Defense Ministry official says that the French 
 garrison in Senegal is much less operationally oriented than 
 the base in Gabon, remarking that, of the French bases in 
 Africa, the one in Senegal most closely resembles a "holdover 
 from the colonial era." 
  
 9.  (C)  REUNION ISLAND:  This overseas department is the 
 home base for about 4,575 French troops and sailors with air, 
 land, and sea capabilities.  The main units are the 2nd 
 Marine Parachute Infantry Regiment, two surveillance 
 frigates, two P400 patrol boats, and a number of aircraft. 
 Reunion Island is responsible not only for portions of 
 eastern and southern Africa but also for France's Indian 
 Ocean interests.  It is the home port for the French naval 
 command ALINDIEN. 
  
 10.  (C)  CHAD:  The French have deployed Operation Epervier 
 on a "temporary" basis since 1986, in response to Libyan 
 provocation in the region.  Given its longevity, it has 
 become a de facto permanent base but has not been accorded 
 that status.  The French military presence has provided 
 support to the Deby regime and also to the Bozize regime in 
 C.A.R., in some cases involving combat operations against 
 rebel groups.  Combat support has, in theory, ceased under 
 President Sarkozy, who has ordered, as part of his policy of 
 "equal partnership" between France and Africa, that French 
 troops "would no longer fire on Africans" (except, obviously, 
 in self-defense), an order that the French claim they 
 scrupulously obeyed even during the heavy fighting in Chad in 
 February 2008.  The French provided essential support to 
  
 PARIS 00001698  003 OF 009 
  
  
 Americans (both official and unofficial) in Chad during the 
 February rebel incursion. 
  
 11.  (C)  About 1260 troops now serve in Operation Epervier 
 (one Army Task Force with four infantry companies, six Mirage 
 F1s, four Puma Helicopters, one C135 refueler, and three C160 
 transport aircraft).  Another 1675 French troops participate 
 in EUFOR, the EU peacekeeping operation deployed in Chad and 
 C.A.R., largely through France's initiative, to support 
 MINURCAT, the UN operation to help Darfur refugees and others 
 displaced by the region's instability.  The French hope that 
 EUFOR will be replaced by a UN operation, perhaps an expanded 
 MINURCAT, when EUFOR's mandate expires in March 2009. 
  
 12.  (C)  We expect that the French will continue to deploy 
 Operation Epervier in Chad, irrespective of the EUFOR 
 mission, so long as instability emanating from Darfur remains 
 a serious concern.  Several French officials have stated 
 privately that France would like to see the Chad-Sudan 
 frontier serve as a breakwater, if not a wall, that would 
 impede the spread of radical Islam from the Horn of Africa 
 westward and southward into Africa's interior.  That said, 
 the French may drawdown or end Operation Epervier as soon as 
 an acceptable level of regional stability is achieved. 
  
 13.  (C)  OTHER DEPLOYMENTS:  The French maintain a permanent 
 naval mission in the Gulf of Guinea, Operation Corymbe, 
 usually with two ships on patrol, that enables rapid crisis 
 response, protection for French off-shore oil interests, and 
 support for NEOs and ongoing peacekeeping operations.  This 
 naval mission cooperates extensively with US NAVEUR's Africa 
 Partnership Station.  In addition, the French have deployed 
 military forces on an ad hoc basis elsewhere in Africa.  For 
 example, French military units have deployed to Togo to 
 support Operation Licorne in Cote d'Ivoire and French forces 
 have recently served in multinational operations in the DRC 
 and Rwanda, generally under UN mandate.  In total, and 
 excluding French forces stationed on Reunion Island, there 
 are roughly 10,000 French troops either garrisoned or 
 deployed in sub-Saharan Africa. 
  
 Realignment 
 ----------- 
  
 14.  (C)  Well before Sarkozy's announcement of a new French 
 Africa policy, French officials told us that France wanted to 
 re-orient its military presence away from bilateral 
 relationships and towards increased cooperation with Africa's 
 sub-regional groupings.  This shift would allow France to 
 treat its military relations with Africa on a broader basis 
 and not through a series of narrow bilateral relationships 
 each with its own peculiarities and history. 
  
 15.  (C)  In 2006 (i.e., before Sarkozy's election in 2007), 
 the French began implementing a new command structure in 
 Africa featuring four geographic commands, each of which 
 would generally conform to an analogous regional 
 sub-grouping.  Notably, Cote d'Ivoire was dropped from this 
 scheme.  Given the regional (vice bilateral) focus of the new 
 commands, the orientation of the new commands may allow more 
 ready interaction and cooperation with the USG's new AFRICOM, 
 once the later becomes more present and operational in Africa. 
  
 --  French Forces in Djibouti (FFDJ):  Responsible for 
 Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Sudan, and 
 Uganda, or, roughly, the IGAD countries. 
  
 --  French Forces in Cape Verde (FFCV):  Despite its name, a 
 command located in Senegal responsible for Senegal, Cape 
 Verde, Gambia, Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Burkina 
 Faso, Benin, Togo, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire Liberia, Sierra 
 Leone, and Guinea, roughly paralleling ECOWAS. 
  
 --  French Forces in Gabon (FFG):  Responsible for Gabon, 
  
 PARIS 00001698  004 OF 009 
  
  
 Chad, C.A.R., Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, DRC, Congo 
 Brazzaville, and Angola, corresponding with ECCAS. 
  
 --  Armed Forces in the Southern Zone of the Indian Ocean 
 (FAZSOI):  Located on Reunion Island and responsible for 
 Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, 
 Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Swaziland, Lesotho, South 
 Africa, and Madagascar,  mirroring SADC. 
  
 Further Consolidation 
  . . . and Departure (?) 
 ------------------------ 
  
 16.  (C)  Establishing the four commands appears to be only 
 the first step in France's plan to consolidate and centralize 
 its military presence in Africa.  Consistent with the White 
 Papers on Defense and on Foreign Policy issued in June-July 
 2008, the French tell us that they envision an eventual 
 configuration with two hubs that would serve as crisis 
 response centers and headquarters.  From these hubs, the 
 French would direct their bilateral and regional military 
 cooperation programs, which would center on supporting and 
 training African forces that would in turn perform stability 
 operations until now largely performed by the French and 
 other non-Africans.  The two White Papers generally call for 
 a streamlining of French diplomatic and military operations 
 worldwide, with an emphasis on efficiency, the elimination of 
 redundancies, and greater rationality in the apportionment of 
 ever-decreasing resources. 
  
 17.  (C)  Concerning Africa, the Defense White Paper states: 
 "France will conserve a capacity for conflict prevention and 
 for action on the western and eastern sides of the African 
 continent, as well as in the Sahel region, notably for 
 combating illicit trafficking and terrorist acts.  France 
 will radically convert the present system of defense 
 agreements and military cooperation agreements (see below) in 
 order to evolve towards a partnership between Europe and 
 Africa and towards cooperation on defense and security, 
 favoring the rise in strength of African capacities to carry 
 out peacekeeping." 
  
 18.  (C)  Sarkozy's Africa Advisors (Deputy Diplomatic 
 Advisor Bruno Joubert and Romain Serman) have told us that 
 the Defense White Paper was deliberately vague in defining 
 these "hubs" in order to avoid the suggestion that France 
 intended to stay forever in Africa, a suggestion that would 
 contradict one of Sarkozy's statements about France's not 
 having a mandate to provide for Africa's stability 
 indefinitely.  (See refs C and D.)  Indeed, Foreign Minister 
 Kouchner has publicly stated that in perhaps 15 years there 
 may not be a French military presence in Africa, and Joubert 
 says that even as early as 2012, if the AU's standby force 
 becomes fully operational, it may be possible to reduce or 
 even close some of France's African bases. 
  
 19.  (C)  The scenario involving a large-scale, near-term 
 French military withdrawal from Africa, however, remains 
 speculative.  For now, the French are looking at Senegal or 
 Gabon as the possible western hub and Djibouti as the eastern 
 hub (assuming that Djibouti is not closed in deference to the 
 new base in the UAE).  Joubert and Serman indicate that the 
 French military prefers Senegal because of its proximity to 
 France, the long French presence there, and Senegal's 
 generally stable political environment.  However, Joubert and 
 Serman believe Gabon may be a better hub because of its more 
 central location and proximity to the Gulf of Guinea and 
 Africa's troubled interior.  Joubert has said that if 
 Djibouti could no longer serve as a hub, Reunion Island could 
 assume that function. 
  
 20.  (C)  Serman notes that another reason for reducing 
 France's military presence in Africa is to meet domestic 
 political expectations.  The GOF recently announced the 
  
 PARIS 00001698  005 OF 009 
  
  
 closure of several military facilities in France, to the 
 dismay of localities dependent on the revenue associated with 
 the facilities.  The Sarkozy government could not close 
 domestic installations without also making reductions in 
 France's overseas presence, Serman observes. 
  
 Defense Agreements 
 ------------------ 
 21.  (C)  Sarkozy announced many of aspects of France's 
 Africa policy in his speech in Cape Town on February 28, 2008 
 (see refs A and B).  Among these was France's intention to 
 renegotiate all eight of its Defense Agreements in Africa. 
 Sarkozy said that:  "Africa should take charge of its 
 security problems....  France's military presence in Africa 
 still rests on the agreements concluded 'the day after' 
 colonization, more than 50 years ago....  It's not a question 
 of France's disengaging militarily from Africa but rather 
 that Africa's security is first of all, naturally, the 
 business of Africans."  These agreements should be "adapted 
 to the realities of the present time....  Contrary to past 
 practice," the renegotiated agreements "will be entirely 
 public." 
  
 22.  (C)  French officials tell us that the eight Defense 
 Agreements are simply obsolete.  The Agreements are with Cote 
 d'Ivoire (1960), C.A.R. (1960), Djibouti (1977), Gabon 
 (1960), Senegal (1960, revised 1974), Cameroon (1960, revised 
 1974), Comoros (1973, revised 1978), and Togo (1963). 
 Presidential Advisors Serman and Remi Marechaux say that the 
 Agreements contain mutual defense provisions that are no 
 longer realistic -- "If France is attacked, are we really 
 going to expect, much less rely on, Togo to go to war with 
 whoever attacks us?"  More troublesome is the obligation 
 placed on France to defend its treaty partners.  Serman was 
 quite uncomfortable with the possibility that Djibouti would 
 invoke its Agreement with France and demand that France come 
 to its defense during the recent Djibouti-Eritrea border 
 skirmish.  Serman indicated that France was quick to provide 
 significant rear-area logistical support to Djibouti in order 
 to avoid a Djiboutian request to engage in combat per the 
 Agreement. 
  
 23.  (C)  Equally troublesome and outdated are certain 
 "secret" portions of some of the Agreements.  According to 
 Marechaux, the Defense Agreements with Cameroon and Gabon, 
 for example, contain "absurd" provisions obligating France, 
 upon request, to provide internal security in case of 
 domestic unrest in those countries -- "There is no way we are 
 going to act as an internal security police force at the 
 request of a regime with domestic unrest."  Serman says that 
 some of the Agreements contain "secret" clauses giving France 
 monopoly rights to exploit natural resources in the countries 
 concerned.  "This is so ridiculous today that we can only 
 laugh about it.  Can you imagine us invoking our Agreement 
 with Togo and ordering Togo to tell China to get out of 'our' 
 country?" 
  
 24.  (C)  French officials say that the renegotiated 
 Agreements will be stripped of these outdated provisions and 
 "secret" clauses.  Everything will be open and transparent, 
 with the revised Agreements reflecting today's realities and 
 both sides' priorities in terms of shared interests.  They 
 will also avoid the paternalism inherent in the original 
 Agreements.  The French have already sent negotiating teams 
 to the eight countries and hope to make significant progress 
 in revising them by the end of 2008. 
  
 25.  (C)  African reaction seems positive, albeit qualified. 
 President Wade of Senegal, according to the press, in July 
 2008 commented on French intentions:  "It is a very good 
 thing.  There are  protection, agreements in the event of 
 an internal or external threat to a regime.  These agreements 
 are secret.  There must be an end to this, things must be 
 clear.  But some countries need this protection.  It is a 
  
 PARIS 00001698  006 OF 009 
  
  
 factor in deterring opposition movements accustomed to 
 resorting swiftly to violence and weapons.  If France 
 withdraws from those countries, we should not be surprised to 
 see oppositionists attacking the government.  But this is not 
 the case in Senegal, which has a solid regime and a loyal 
 army.  I am therefore willing to annul the Defense Agreement 
 between France and Senegal.  The other issue is France's 
 military bases, including the one in Dakar.  This French 
 presence does not bother me if it is useful to France.  But 
 President Sarkozy believes that this base is no longer 
 necessary (sic)." 
  
 26.  (U)  Major General Salimou Mohamed Amiri, Army Chief of 
 Staff of the Comoros, reportedly stated in July 2008 that the 
 Comoros favored a new military cooperation arrangement with 
 France in lieu of the present Defense Agreement, noting that 
 it would be anomalous for the defense of the Comoros to fall 
 under France's authority.  He expected that military 
 cooperation would take the form of training and exchange 
 programs. 
  
 Military Cooperation Agreements 
 ------------------------------- 
 27.  (C)   Indeed, the renegotiated Defense Agreements will 
 likely resemble the Military Cooperation Agreements France 
 maintains with some three dozen African countries.  The focus 
 of the Military Cooperation Agreements is training and 
 professionalism.  France's Directorate for Military and 
 Defense Cooperation (DMCD) supports a staff of about 300 
 permanent personnel in Africa who are embedded within African 
 militaries, in some cases wearing the local uniform.  DMCD 
 runs about 150 projects in Africa featuring support of 
 military schools, technical training, French language 
 training, armed forces reform and restructuring, equipment 
 maintenance, communications, and infrastructure support. 
 African military personnel attend 35 military schools in 
 France and there are 14 regional military vocational schools 
 spread across francophone Africa. 
  
 28.  (C)  The French will also likely continue to support the 
 RECAMP program (Reinforcing African Capabilities for 
 Maintaining Peace), designed to improve Africans' 
 peacekeeping capabilities and their ability to participate 
 successfully in multinational peacekeeping.  The French have 
 welcomed U.S. participation in RECAMP's activities, and the 
 program seems to mesh well with the U.S. ACOTA program, which 
 has similar objectives.  The French recently integrated the 
 EU into RECAMP, which is now formally called EuroRECAMP, 
 giving an EU face to the program (important to the French in 
 their effort to multilateralize their presence in Africa) and 
 providing additional resources for the program. 
  
 29.  (C)  In sum, French military objectives in Africa 
 parallel the non-military aspects of Sarkozy's Africa policy 
 in terms of strengthening African capabilities; reducing, if 
 not ending, African dependence on France; promoting openness 
 and transparency; abandoning colonial-era sentiments and 
 "special" treatment; engaging the EU and other bodies into 
 French-led programs; and identifying and exploiting shared 
 interests and priorities.  Ancillary benefits would include 
 increased commitment to democratization, meritocracy, 
 professionalism, and self-reliance. 
  
 New Priorities for Economic Assistance 
 -------------------------------------- 
 30.  (C)   New Secretary of  State for Cooperation and 
 Francophonie Alain Joyandet, who replaced Jean-Marie Bockel 
 following Bockel's dismissal (see ref B), outlined French 
 economic assistance priorities for Africa in a June 19, 2008 
 speech: 
  
 --  Strengthening private sector investment in Africa and 
 support for young African entrepreneurs; 
 --  Reinforcing agricultural programs in Africa on a 
  
 PARIS 00001698  007 OF 009 
  
  
 sustainable basis; 
 --  Expanding the role of women in small business enterprises; 
 --  Tripling the number of international volunteers in Africa 
 within four years; 
 --  Increasing support to French NGOs ("the role of French 
 NGOs is too modest when compared to the powerful Anglo-Saxon 
 and German organizations"); 
 --  Increased support for education and teaching the French 
 language; and 
 --  Modernizing France's military cooperation with Africa, in 
 line with Sarkozy's February 2008 speech in Cape Town. 
  
 31.  (C)  For the past several years, the French have been 
 using the Partnership Framework Agreement (PFA) as the 
 umbrella document formalizing French assistance to a 
 recipient country.  Formulated during the final years of the 
 Chirac Presidency, the PFA has emerged as an efficient way to 
 package French assistance.  Each PFA runs for five years and 
 describes the various projects the two sides will undertake. 
 Notably, the sum of money the French intend to spend is 
 presented as a range, for the PFA is intended to be a 
 flexible instrument that will allow for changes and 
 refinements during its five-year run.  The PFA is usually 
 generated by the French Embassy in a partner country, which 
 identifies needs and possible projects.  The proposal is then 
 sent to Paris where it is vetted by Joyandet's organization 
 and by the French Development Agency, a separate body that 
 reports to both the MFA and the Finance Ministry.  After 
 being refined and adopted, the PFA is offered to the 
 recipient country as the starting point for a final mutual 
 decision on how and how much French aid is to be provided and 
 administered.  The arrangement seems to be working well and 
 we expect that the priorities Joyandet mentioned will shape 
 any new PFAs concluded with partner countries. 
  
 Other Structural Changes 
 ------------------------ 
 32.  (C)  As noted ref A, the MFA is planning to create a new 
 "sous-direction" (comparable to a State Department regional 
 office) within its Africa Bureau.  There will then be four 
 "sous-directions" in the Bureau, which would create a 
 structure resembling the four military commands covering 
 Africa and which would align the MFA with Africa's 
 sub-regional organizations (ECOWAS, SADC, et al.).  We are 
 told that a fourth sous-direction could lead to more desk 
 officers -- at present, there are only 15 desk officers in 
 the entire Bureau, many of whom are first- or second-tour 
 officers and at least two of whom (the Chad and Great Lakes 
 desks) are seconded from other GOF agencies.  (The present 
 Chad desk officer, like his predecessor, is an Army 
 Lieutenant Colonel and the Great Lakes desk officer is on 
 loan from the Interior Ministry.) 
  
 33.  (C)  MFA Africa Bureau contacts say that other changes 
 are under consideration, including making it easier for 
 officials from other ministries to serve at the MFA, and even 
 an idea to make France's diplomatic corps less distinct and 
 more like other branches of France's civil service.  While 
 this is perceived as a possible dilution of traditional 
 "diplomacy," some believe that making MFA staff more fungible 
 could reinvigorate the diplomatic corps, strip it of its 
 perceived elitist nature, and allow it to profit from the 
 experiences and backgrounds of non-diplomats. 
  
 34.  (C)  The Diplomatic White Paper issued in July also 
 suggests, without specificity, that France could consider 
 working with EU partners to create shared or co-located 
 diplomatic facilities abroad, which would permit cost savings 
 among those involved.  While joint ambassadorships would not 
 be possible in the near term for legal reasons, the consular 
 function, for example, could be exercised jointly by several 
 partner countries. 
  
 35.  (C)  Finally, Nathalie Delapalme, a respected expert and 
  
 PARIS 00001698  008 OF 009 
  
  
 an MFA Africa Advisor for several Foreign Ministers during 
 the Chirac Presidency, reportedly has suggested that France 
 could further rationalize its presence in Africa by dividing 
 its diplomatic missions into three classes, which would allow 
 a better use of resources.  FM Kouchner echoed some of these 
 ideas during his speech at the French Chiefs of Mission 
 conference in August 2008. 
  
 --  "Full service" missions:  South Africa, Cameroon, Cote 
 d'Ivoire Ethiopia, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Nigeria, DRC, and 
 Senegal.  The missions in South Africa, Cameroon, Kenya, and 
 Senegal would also have regional economic responsibilities. 
  
 --  "Priority" missions:  Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina 
 Faso, Burundi, Comoros, Congo Brazzaville, Djibouti, Gabon, 
 Ghana, Guinea, Mauritius, Niger, C.A.R., Chad, and Togo. 
 Some of these could offer some of the services provided by 
 "full service" missions. 
  
 --  "Limited" missions:  Botswana (if not classed higher), 
 Cape Verde, Eritrea, Guinea-Bissau, Equatorial Guinea, 
 Liberia, Namibia, Seychelles, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.  These 
 missions, each with only about a dozen staff, would be more 
 "diplomatic presence posts" (akin to the USG APP concept) 
 working in a "simplified format." 
  
 For now, this kind of reorganization still appears in an 
 embryonic stage, but changes of this sort could take place if 
 the Sarkozy government implements its broader plans for 
 restructuring. 

Conclusion 
---------- 
36. (C) In saying that he would "reform" France's Africa 
policy, Sarkozy has taken on a task of formidable 
proportions, which is no less than to break once and for all 
from the colonial and post-colonial world and its mindset and 
to bring relations into today's era. To do so, he must 
overcome inertia and a certain level of comfort on both sides 
that have accumulated over many years. Yet, as in other 
areas of French policy, he seems determined to move forward 
and has taken his first steps. In our view, this is a 
positive development, for France-Afrique was becoming an 
increasingly creaky, costly, and potentially dangerous 
vehicle for dealing with a continent rife with challenges, 
less amenable to heeding its former colonial masters, and 
inescapably engaged in global issues of all kinds, from 
terrorism, to the environment, to drug trafficking, to energy 
resource management, and well beyond. 

37. (C) But, will France-Afrique and old habits ever 
completely fade? One MOD contact, not known for 
sentimentality, believes that certain parts of France-Afrique 
will endure, if for no other reason than the common use of 
the French language and long intertwined histories. 
Prefacing his remarks by noting their lack of "political 
correctness" and their triteness, he says that the 
relationship was for a long time similar to a parent-child 
relationship. "Now, the child is an adult, capable of and 
deserving of more autonomy, yet still welcoming our help and 
guidance. What Sarkozy is doing is kicking the fledgling out 
of the nest, which is sort of the way he approaches a lot of 
problems. A heavy dose of what you might call 'tough love,' 
not always dispensed lovingly. Eventually, the now-grown 
adult child will be replaced by something resembling a cousin 
or a nephew. We will grow farther apart and less apt to look 
to each other reflexively, but some familial bond will 
remain, however much we may seek to deny it, and familial 
bonds are always to be nurtured. Our job is to make sure 
that this inevitable drifting apart takes place positively on 
both sides, does not completely extinguish the bond, and, 
most importantly, does not turn into an estrangement. That 
would be a loss for everyone -- French, Africans, and 
Americans." 

PARIS 00001698 009 OF 009 




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