“I was hoping that Macron would be more courageous”

11:20 p.m.
    , December 28, 2019, modified at
                    11:24 p.m.
    , December 28, 2019


Prevented from entering his country, Guillaume Soro, presidential candidate of Côte d’Ivoire, is struck by an international arrest warrant. He denounces a manipulation of Alassane Ouattara and regrets the attitude of Emmanuel Macron.

The voice is clear, the tone lively. Back in Paris, where he has been living in exile for six months, Guillaume Soro does not seem marked by his missed comeback of Monday in Ivory Coast. “I’m fine,” said the former president of the National Assembly straight away, against whom the authorities of his country had just issued an international arrest warrant. At the JDD, the one who was also Prime Minister under Gbagbo then Ouattara, confides his intention to campaign. However, he refuted any desire to take up arms: “It is only a question of political resistance.” He also expressed his disappointment at the lack of support from France.

Read also – The elusive Guillaume Soro, presidential candidate in Côte d’Ivoire

After your failed return to Côte d’Ivoire, will you stay in France?
Yes, since President Ouattara forbids me to return to my country. […]

Emmanuel Macron does not have the capacity to tell his hosts that it was important to respect democracy in Africa

What happened when you had an aborted return to Côte d’Ivoire?
After declaring myself a candidate in October, I decided to go to Abidjan on December 23 to launch my campaign. We were on the plane when the pilot arrived in the cabin: a control tower in Niger had just warned him that it was dangerous to land at Abidjan airport, where there was an abnormal deployment of law enforcement. I insisted, but the pilot replied “no way!”, Especially as an assault on the aircraft was possible.

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However, you knew that this trip was going to be perilous. The day before, you had already given up landing in Abidjan. Did you negotiate this trip with the Ivorian authorities, in particular President Ouattara?
I never had a conversation with Mr. Ouattara. On December 22, I had to go to Abidjan. But I was contacted by a person who wanted the trip not to interfere with Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Côte d’Ivoire. This gentleman is called Pierre Fakhoury [architecte et entrepreneur proche du pouvoir ivoirien].

Why take this call from Pierre Fakhoury seriously? Was he speaking on behalf of the French authorities?
It claims to have its entrances. And he is a great friend of Alassane Ouattara. So, after he told me that my arrival could hinder Macron’s visit, I agreed to postpone this trip for twenty-four hours. In this regard, I am nevertheless surprised: the French president went to Côte d’Ivoire, celebrated his birthday there but he did not have the capacity to tell his hosts that it was important to respect the democracy in Africa. I hoped that a president like him would have more courage and maturity to do so.

To read this interview in full, find the JDD in newsstands, in digital or on subscription.

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