It is no longer so easy to travel to France for Central African officials who complain about longer delays in obtaining visas and much more complex formalities. Officially, the procedure is being extended due to the health crisis and the summer holidays, but for some Central African officials it would rather be a new stage in the deterioration of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
as reported from Bangui, Carol Valade
In June last year, five deputies, including the first vice-president of the National Assembly, will go on a parliamentary mission to Brussels. Despite a note from the Belgian embassy, their visa applications were rejected by the French embassy in Bangui. Cause: late submission of the file, just three days before departure.
Officially invited to Italy, the Central African Foreign Minister prefers to use her French passport rather than her diplomatic passport, as her partners have been refused sesame for the same reason.
“Protocol uses are being trampled on,” protests an official. Visas are no longer obtained in 24 hours for tall personalities, direct inquiries to the embassy remain unanswered, medical trips have been refused, the visas granted are shorter.
At the embassy, if the option of a restriction for personalities considered “hostile to France” is regularly mentioned, it is assured that it is “health context that extends the deadlines”. Although allowing for “increased vigilance in certain specific cases”.
Paris complains about disinformation campaigns against it, about the difficulties facing companies, but above all about the growing influence in CAR of Russian paramilitaries who are qualified as “mercenaries” by UN experts.