France, Senegal leaders pledge to boost tiesThu, 20 Jun 2024 20:37:06 GMT

French President Emmanuel Macron and his Senegalese counterpart Bassirou Diomaye Faye met for the first time in Paris on Thursday, pledging to firm up ties.Macron and Faye, who was inaugurated on April 2, met on the sidelines of the Global Forum for Vaccine Sovereignty and Innovation.”Both heads of state expressed their common desire to give new impetus to the partnership between Senegal and France,” their offices said in a joint statement.This should be “based on mutual respect — a balanced partnership at the service of the mutual interests of both peoples,” they added.Senegal and France have historically maintained strong political and economic relations.But Faye — a left-wing pan-Africanist — has insisted that international relationships should be more balanced.In May, Senegal’s Prime Minister Ousmane Sonko said the country’s wish to determine its path was “incompatible with the entrenched presence of foreign military bases” on Senegalese soil.Sources told AFP on Monday that France would be reducing the number of soldiers stationed in West and Central African nations, including Senegal.Paris will reduce the number of soldiers posted to Senegal from 350 to around 100, they said. France’s military has over the past few years been forced out of former colonies Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.