The 18th Francophonie Summit, originally scheduled for Djerba in November next year, has been postponed by one year by the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF). This postponement, which was formalized on Wednesday 13 October, should “enable Tunisia to organize this important body under the most optimal conditions”, according to press releases from the OIF and the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. This is the second launch in a year, and everyone seems to agree.
The official announcement came on Wednesday, October 13: already for the first time postponed due to health conditions linked to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 18th Francophonie summit, planned in Tunisia, is again postponed one year. Some African embassies in Paris highlight the fact that Tunisia was not ready to welcome delegates from 88 French-speaking states, explains Claire Fages, from the Africa Service RFI.
But in reality, because power has hardened in Tunis and the president Kais Saïed arrogated proxies for himselfby organizing a summit of the Francophonie in Djerba, OIF member countries made a shame. Canada seems to have been the most active country in requesting a postponement.
“The postponement was the subject of a consensus” For its part, France was more and more uncomfortable in the face of Tunisian political hardening, condemned more and more openly by lawyers and human rights activists. In Tunis as in Paris. However, the official discourse remains neutral: “We were in favor of all the solutions agreed between the OIF and Tunisia”, explains a source at the Elysee, while the Ministry of Foreign Affairs emphasizes that “the postponement of the summit is subject to consensus from the organization’s standing council”.
A way to leave some space for Tunisia. The latter saves the face by currently being the host country in a year.
“The coming year will enable the institutions to support what we all want, that is, a return to democratic balance, to gather the necessary and necessary conditions to hold a summit under acceptable conditions.”
EC Tunisia-Francophonie: Christophe-André Frassa on the postponement of the Djerba summit
“OIF is not a sanctions organization” Frédéric Turpin, professor of contemporary history at the University of Savoie and author of La France et la francophonie politique. The story of a difficult meeting underlines that it is currently a postponement and not a cancellation, as was the case in 1990 for the Francophonie summit in Kinshasa, following the massacre of students in Lumumbashi.
“In Kinshasa, the intensity of the student massacres had been particularly shocking, not only in Zaire (former name of the Democratic Republic of Congo, under Mobutu Sese Seko, editor’s note), but also throughout Africa and around the world. There is a rupture. “This explains why we are taking much more force to launch a suspension with the Tunisian president. But on the other hand, we are also trying to maintain all possible channels of dialogue. Because the OIF is not an organization for sanctions, but for dialogue and mediation.” , develops the historian.
Kaïs Saïed’s Offensive Against Its Opponents In Tunisia, the announcement of the launch revives certain internal political tensions, reports our Tunisian correspondent,Amira Souilem. The exercise was sensitive: it was a matter of formalizing this new postponement without giving the impression that the country was affected by a snub.
By publishing this news, Slim Khalbous – Head of the Agence universitaire de la Francophonie – insisted that the summit take place next year, still in Tunisia. A deadline that will give the country time to organize it under “optimal” conditions. Some more opponents Kaïs Saïed, as well as Moncef Marzouki, first president of post-revolutionary Tunisia, called for this postponement. Anyone who qualifies the July 25 coup as a “coup” hopes that a speedy return to democratic order will allow his country to organize this event next year.
Lobbying against Tunisia which gave him bitter rescues from Kaïs Saïed in several speeches, but also a certain hostility from some Tunisians who accuse him of having sabotaged a little more the image of his country, while it goes through a period of turbulence.