News / Africa

Sarkozy Calls on African Leaders to do Better or Risk Public Wrath

France's President Nicolas Sarkozy addresses the 16th African Union Summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2011
France's President Nicolas Sarkozy addresses the 16th African Union Summit in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, January 30, 2011

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has cautioned African leaders to respect the peoples’ will or risk being swept aside by a rising tide of public discontent. The warning came as part of Sarkozy’s keynote address to an African Union summit in Addis Ababa.

The words were carefully chosen, aimed at no one in particular, but the intent of Sarkozy’s comments to African heads of state and government could not have been clearer. In this new world of instantaneous communication, social networking and heightened public awareness, leaders can no longer govern in what he called ‘the world of yesteryear’.

The French president said those who ignore the changing times do so at their own peril.

"Either change is inflicted on one, in which case we leave the door open one day or another to violence, or else you anticipate it, guide it, and then it can take place without clashes, without risks and without opening the door to every sort and kind of drift.  France wants this peaceful change and will support it."

Leaders of most North African states were conspicuous by their absence at this summit.  Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Algeria were all represented by lower level officials.

At a time when television screens have been filled with angry public demonstrations in north African capitals, Sarkozy warned the more than 30 assembled heads of state they could face a similar fate unless they address people’s aspirations.

"Good governance, democracy, respect for human rights are among many values for which your organization struggles on a daily basis and on which you succeed in pushing forward. These correspond to the deep aspirations of each one of our peoples, as we have been reminded forcefully by recent events in Tunisia and Egypt."

The French leader also warned against the use of force to put down public demonstrations.

"Allow me on this sensitive subject to speak very bluntly. I am going to speak as a friend, because one owes the truth to one's friends. When faced with innocent victims, our consciences cannot but be pricked because violence from whatever sources is never a solution. Because violence only breeds more violence, because violence on all continents engenders misery and suffering."

Sarkozy also singled out Ivory Coast, implicitly criticizing incumbent President Laurent Gbagbo for refusing the step down after his apparent defeat in last November’s presidential runoff election.

"In Cote d’Ivoire, where the freely expressed will of an entire people in an election meant to seal a return to peace is being treated with scorn, France resolutely supports efforts of A.U. and ECOWAS and the U.N. secretary general to ensure that the Ivorian people’s choice, peaceful choice, prevails despite the difficulties and the setbacks."

In a separate summit address, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon backed the call for a negotiated settlement in Ivory Coast.  But Ban said any solution should result in the formation of a government led by challenger Alassane Ouattara.

Both the United Nations and the African Union have recognized Ouattara’s election victory.


You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countriesi
X
December 16, 2014 2:14 PM
Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.
Video

Video Indonesian Province to Expand Sharia Law

Indonesia has the world’s largest Muslim population and a legal system based on Dutch civil law and Indonesian government regulations. But in a 2001 compromise with separatists, Aceh province in Sumatra island’s north was allowed to implement Sharia law. Since then, religious justice has become increasingly strict. VOA correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh.
Video

Video Some Russian Businesses Thrive in Poor Economy

Capital flight, the fall in oil prices and Western sanctions are pushing Russia's staggering economy into recession. But not companies are suffering. The ruble’s drop in value has benefited exporters as well as businesses targeting increasingly frugal customers. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.

All About America

AppleAndroid