Gabon: French President’s “Special Envoy” for Africa Received in Libreville

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Jean-Marie Bockel, the “Special Envoy” for Africa appointed by the French president, was in Libreville, Gabon, on Tuesday, March 19th, where he held discussions with the transitional president, Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguéma. The visit is part of the revitalization of France’s military partnership with African countries.

During his visit to Gabon, Jean-Marie Bockel made no major announcements during his working day in Libreville. “I came to study, in consultation with the Gabonese authorities, the future of our military partnership,” he declared after meeting with the transitional president, Brice Clotaire Oligui Nguema.

Emmanuel Macron’s envoy for Africa held a working session with the Minister of Defense, in the presence of all the military chiefs of Gabon. He also visited Camp de Gaulle, near the airport, which serves as the base for French military personnel. Before Libreville, Jean-Marie Bockel had already been received in Ivory Coast and Chad, two countries, like Gabon, that host French soldiers.

Reduced French Military Presence

Over the past decade, France has gradually reduced its military presence in the country. From about 1,000 soldiers during peacetime in the 1990s, there were only 400 remaining in 2023. Paris aimed to further reduce this number to 200 troops this year, as stated by General François-Xavier Mabin, then-commander of French military forces in Gabon, in May last year.

Today, the base in Libreville has been transformed into a training center for soldiers of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS). Libreville is developing three military schools with a regional focus in collaboration with France.

Soukaina Sghir

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