The renewed French commitment in African conflicts and the Ivory Coast challenge

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The French intervention in the Ivory Coast crisis revives the interventionnist tradition of France in Africa and sketches the first lines of a new type of French commitment on the Dark Continent by initiating new intervention principles (a regional and comprehensive multilateralization of the conflict). The French intervention has a mixed outcome : it has allowed preventing the burst of a true open war but the Ivory Coast has not recovered its peace since, almost two years after the Linas-Marcoussis Agreement has been signed, the peace process that it launched is in a dead end. This blocked situation, heavy with consequences on France’s future African policy, should nevertheless not be summarised into only one French failure : to admit such an analysis would be committing a sin of excessive simplicity. The ferments of the dead end situation are to be sought elsewhere : they reside mostly in the absence of an Ivory Coast political determination to leave the crisis and the attitude of president Laurent Gbagbo is especially meaningful in this regard. – Summary AFRI-2005