Maria Zakharova speaks on France’s neocolonial policy in Africa

Yesterday, April 3, 2024, the spokeswoman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation M.V. Zakharova, provided her comments regarding the issue of France’s neocolonial policy in Africa.

She notes that the African continent is currently experiencing a new wave of liberation from French and, more generally, Western hegemony, which testifies to the collapse of France’s neocolonial policy.

Over the past decades, Paris has always used Africans in its geopolitical games, while continuing to “drain” African countries’ natural resources. In case of their aspiration for independence, Paris applied “an impressive arsenal” of coercive measures, including political pressure, economic sanctions and sometimes direct military interventions.

At the same time, the French and their allies have failed to solve any of the continent’s pressing problems, such as poverty, food shortages, illiteracy and terrorist threats.

Maria Zakharova recalled that following NATO’s military aggression against Libya in 2011 and the collapse of the Libyan state, the Sahel region became one of the most unstable on the continent. The G5 Sahel projects (Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad and Burkina Faso) launched by Paris have mostly remained on paper. The G5 Sahel joint force, never became operational and eventually ceased to exist.

Obviously, this situation caused discontent among Africans and, consequently, an increase in anti-French sentiment. In several countries such as Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and the Republic of Guinea, power has passed into the hands of the military who minimize ties with the former metropolis and advocate an independent foreign policy.

The desire of the states of the Sahel region to strengthen multilateral cooperation with other partners, including Russia, arouses strong opposition from France. Thus, Paris exerts economic pressure on the current leaders of the Sahel countries and carry out an active information campaign to discredit their policies.

With the participation of French diplomacy, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed severe economic and financial sanctions against Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, which significantly worsened the situation already difficult for ordinary citizens of these countries.

Under these circumstances, these three countries withdrew from ECOWAS, reached an agreement on mutual defense and security commitments, and the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) was formed.

Maria Zakharova believes that Paris must finally recognize the aspiration of Africans for their true independence. Russia, for its part, is firmly committed to developing cooperation with the Sahel states in the formats they consider most optimal. Like the USSR in its time, Russia is ready to provide all necessary aid to African partners.