French President Emmanuel Macron receives his Central African counterpart Faustin-Archange Touadéra on Wednesday against a backdrop of relaunching bilateral relations after years of tension due to the rise of the Russian Wagner militia in this country.
“This interview takes place in a context of resumption of dialogue and positive dynamics in bilateral relations ,” the Élysée underlined on Tuesday. “It will be an opportunity to discuss the situation in the Central African Republic as well as regional issues ,” added the French presidency.
President Touadéra spoke in favor of a consolidation of relations with France , while explaining that his partnership with Russia , marked by the controversial presence of the Wagner militia in his country, was expected to continue.
His detractors gave him the nickname “President Wagner” , from the name of the private Russian company whose hundreds of mercenaries landed in the Central African Republic in 2018 under the terms of a defense agreement signed with Russia.
At the end of 2020, Mr. Touadéra, threatened by a rebel offensive on Bangui, called on Moscow for help and hundreds of other Russian mercenaries landed and quickly helped push the armed groups out of most of the territories they controlled.
The growing involvement of the Wagner group in the Central African Republic led France to withdraw its last soldiers from the country at the end of 2022, against a backdrop of very degraded relations between Paris and Bangui.