Madagascar opposes the French project for a nature reserve on the Scattered Islands

The French ambassador was summoned by the Madagascan Minister for Foreign Affairs on the question of the Scattered Islands this Monday, May 18. A convocation which follows the launch a week ago by the French Ministry of the Ecological Transition of a public consultation with a view to concretizing a project for the creation of a national natural reserve on the Glorious archipelago.

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At the end of an interview of about twenty minutes, the French ambassador, Chistrophe Bouchard left the office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs alone and did not wish to speak. A few minutes later, Liva Djacoba Tehindrazanarivelo said that he had summoned the latter to inform him of Madagascar’s opposition to the creation of this natural reserve.

The project of the government of the French Republic is thus an act of mistrust towards Madagascar and goes against the commitment of the two parties to continue the dialogue in a positive spirit. The Malagasy State is firmly opposed to the project of the creation of a national nature reserve on the Glorious archipelago by the government of the French Republic, as well as to any other unilateral act likely to directly or indirectly affect the sovereign right of Madagascar on these islands.

France’s project is going very poorly in Madagascar, especially since negotiations are underway to resolve the question of the sovereignty of these islands, havens of biodiversity and potentially rich in hydrocarbons. A string of islets that surrounds Madagascar, the Scattered Islands are under French sovereignty but have been claimed by the Big Island since the early 1970s. A United Nations resolution dating from 1979 asks France to return these islands to Madagascar.

A first meeting of a joint committee composed of a Malagasy delegation and a French delegation took place last November. But discussions seem to have stalled since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last week on RFI and France 24, the president Andry Rajoelina had reiterated his wish to find a solution for the restitution of the Scattered Islands in Madagascar. The same day, the Ministry of the Ecological Transition announced on its website the establishment of a public consultation on a draft decree relating to the creation of a national natural reserve on the Glorious archipelago. Coincidence or not, the announcement was taken as an offense on the Big Island.

With our correspondent in Antananarivo,

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