Emmanuel Macron in Benin to talk about culture and security

After a visit to Cameroon on Tuesday, where he met with President Biya, the French President is in Benin on Wednesday 27 July, where he will be received by his counterpart, President Patrice Talon, late in the morning. The two men will then visit the exhibition devoted to the 26 works from the royal treasures of Abomey returned by Paris last November. Culture will therefore be on the menu on this trip, as will security issues.

Sporadic incursions by terrorist groups has been multiplying for several months in northern Benin. The French President’s visitwill be an opportunity for the two statesmen to raise the subject.

In May, the Beninese authorities claimed to have recorded almost twenty attacks by armed groups since the end of 2021. The situation is being scrutinized very closely by Paris. The topic will therefore be at the center of the discussions between the two presidents. Cotonou should therefore formulate requests for support.

France says it is ready to provide concrete support for Benign in terms of air support, intelligence and equipment, as well as in the field of training, although Paris is already responsible for the training of Beninese soldiers in the north of the country.

Museum cooperation Next to the topic of security, there will also be a question of culture. For almost four years, France has been engaged in a museum cooperation policy with Benin. This policy resulted in the return of 26 works of art last November and in financial support for the construction of the museum which will eventually house these works in Abomey.

On the subject return of works of art to AfricaWill Emmanuel Macron take a new step today by announcing the establishment of a framework law to simplify these returns?

“It’s a hypothesis,” we confide to his entourage. The idea of ​​such a law was formulated in 2018 by Felwine Sarr and Bénédicte Savoy in their report on restitution. The historian will also be in Cotonou this Wednesday together with the French president.

Expectations for the political class The French president’s program does not allow for any meeting with the opposition. And yet Patrice Talon’s political opponents accuse him of damaging the Beninese democratic model. The opposition wants Emmanuel Macron to raise the issue with his Beninese counterpart, reports our correspondent in Cotonou, Jean-Luc Aplogan.

The opposition’s expectations are fundamentally political. One of the leaders of the party Les Démocrates, Tigri Alassane, believes that “democracy and human rights are seriously at the bottom of the wave”. He explains that the opposition’s expectations “are those of all Beninese, namely the release of all political prisoners including Joël Aivo and Reckya Madougou and the holding of inclusive and peaceful elections”.

“This is the minimum that French President Macron, a country with human rights, is entitled to demand from President Talon,” adds Tigri Alassane. “Benin is the opposite of the democratic values ​​going on with Macron” adds Candide Azanaï of the Restore Hope party.

For the majority deputy Abdoulaye Gounou, “does not bring President Macron who wants. He is in Cotonou thanks to an offensive Beninese diplomacy.” Faced with criticism from the opposition, Urbain Amégbedji, activist from the Progressive Union, made this point: “It is not up to a democratic country to ask another not to respect laws and texts. That would be surreal. I do not expect that from President Macron, I expect him to help us deepen democracy, which is the dictatorship of texts. »

The French president’s entourage had indicated before this African tour that individual situations would be the subject of talks between heads of state. The tete-a-tete between the two presidents is scheduled to last an hour.

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