French Minsterial visit to Comoros rejected by Parliamentarians

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Flag of Comoros

French State Secretary for Overseas France, Yves Jégo, who was scheduled Thursday to begin a day-long visit to Moroni with his Cooperation counterpart, Alain Joyandet, is apparently not welcome in the archipelago.

This is because the Comoran Parliament issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon calling on the government not to meet the two officials.

“The arrival of a French high-level delegation in Moroni is not appropriate and is a provocation to our people,” the MP said.

According to the Comoran MPs, this second mission by a French delegation within a month is “also another concession from the Comoran government authorities to the policy and programme of the French government which seeks to make Mayotte a French department in 2009.

“We could not meet a French cabinet member in charge of the Colonies. Jégo is not the French envoy we were expecting. He should rather go to Reunion or the West Indies,” the statement said.

The MPs therefore called for the cancellation of the visit, saying if it went ahead, those behind it could be tried for ”high treason”.

The visit by Joyandet and Jégo is coming a month after that of Rémi Maréchaux, Adviser to the French President on African Affairs, and Alain Moro, junior Ambassador for Cooperation in the Indian Ocean area.

In a related development, two Comoran Ministers, Salim Hadji Himidi and Ibrahim Hissani Mfoihaya, have joined the MPs in denouncing the visit by the French officials.

In a joint statement, they called on the parliament to have the government “register the Mayotte issue on the UN General Assembly’s agenda as a matter of urgency to ensure its discussion next September”.

Former Foreign Minister Salim Hadji Himidi and ex-Education Minister Ibrahim Hissani Mfoihaya also suggested that the issue be submitted “in absolute urgency” to the African Union (AU), to the Arab League and the Organisation of Non-Aligned Countries.

The source of the former Ministers’ and MPs’ anger is Mayotte, which is still under French supervision and has been disputed by Paris and Moroni since Comoros gained independence in 1975.

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