Last Saturday, President Sarkozy and the delegation accompanying him attended the investiture in Yamoussoukro of President Ouattara, who delivered a very fine speech, a speech of national reconciliation that gave us great cause for hope in the future of Côte d’Ivoire.
Having said that, the challenges he faces are huge, and we expressed our readiness to support and help him, not in a colonizing spirit but with a view to cooperation with and assistance to a country that wants it, with due regard for its sovereignty.
We’re going to work in two directions. First of all, we’ll work on the economic reconstruction of Côte d’Ivoire. The French Development Agency has already released major assets. President Sarkozy has announced a particularly ambitious debt reduction and development contract; we’ll intervene on behalf of SMEs to facilitate their financing. The G8 will welcome Africa, particularly Côte d’Ivoire, where the Prime Minister will go in July to step up France’s efforts still further.
Furthermore, we’re going to work on consolidating peace and security, by supporting the restructuring of the Ivorian armed forces and maintaining a robust United Nations force, but also by adapting our own Licorne force with a view to having a more modest contingent.
In any case, I can tell you that when, in front of some 20 African heads of State and the United Nations Secretary-General in Yamoussoukro, we heard the huge crowd of young Africans chanting France’s name and President Sarkozy’s name in the streets of the political capital of Côte d’Ivoire, we said to ourselves that we’d done good work for Côte d’Ivoire and for Africa./.