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Azali Assoumani, one foot in the African Union, the head in the Comoros

After taking up his duties at the African Union a few weeks ago, the President of the Comoros, Azali Assoumani, is focusing on the complicated situation in Mayotte, a point of divergence between Paris and Moroni.

New President of the African Union (AU), the Head of State of the Comoros, Azali Assoumani, is concerned about what is currently taking place in the archipelago. On a visit to Paris at the start of the week, the head of the AU preferred to discuss the situation in the Comoros with the media and French President Emmanuel Macron, very quickly sweeping away his continental mission.

However, for Azali Assoumani, the subjects related to his functions are not lacking. While one of its priority challenges is the effective establishment of the African Continental Free Trade Area (Zleca), the President of the African Union also wants to focus on resolving the climate emergency or even the issue of terrorism in the Sahel. But, an unfortunate coincidence of the calendar, Sudan has also invited itself into the corridors of the AU which, Assoumani explains, “will occupy all the space granted to it by the belligerents”.

Still, these subjects were touched on during his stay in Paris. Because Azali Assoumani does not digest the launch of “Wuambushu” operations by France, whose goal is to fight against illegal immigration in Mayotte. Questioned by Jeune Afrique, the Comorian head of state puts his feet in the dish: “The approach used today by Paris to solve the Mahoran problem is bad, he assures. It is high time that we sit around the table to try to find an answer that satisfies everyone”.

The question of sovereignty brought up to date

Azali Assoumani is moved to have been "presented with a fait accompli" by the Élysée, even though he had met the president and several ministers before. Consequence: boats departing from Mayotte have been banned, on the orders of the president of the archipelago, from docking in the Comoros.

But in the background, it is above all the sovereignty of Mayotte that reappears. The “Wuambushu” operation is deemed “unacceptable” by the President of the Comoros, who questions: “How can I affirm that Mayotte belongs to the Comoros and accept that Comorians are expelled from Mayotte? »

Indeed, French sovereignty over Mayotte has imposed itself more and more unduly in recent years, despite the timid condemnations of the United Nations. The Comoros, for their part, have constantly condemned the departmentalization of Mayotte in 2011 by France and the status of outermost region given by the European Union to the island.

With the return to the fore of dissension between the Comoros and France, Azali Assoumani now seems focused on the situation in the archipelago rather than on its AU president. With, facing him, a French president deaf to his claims. For the Comorian head of state, relations with Paris risk deteriorating. He also deplores that "French cooperation is not visible in the Comoros even though it has invested twenty times more there than other of our partners in forty years".

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