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Royal visits country of birth, causing controversy

Video by FRANCE 2 , Luke SHRAGO

Text by FRANCE 24 (with wires)

Latest update : 2009-04-07

Former French presidential candidate Segolene Royal is raising her international profile during a visit to Senegal, the country where she was born. But she’s also raising eyebrows over a controversial apology issued in Dakar.

Former French Socialist presidential candidate Ségolène Royal has sparked a controversy in France during her visit to Senegal, when she issued an apology Monday for a 2007 speech by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

 

In a speech during his visit, Sarkozy had said that African man had never really made his mark in history, before calling for an end to “Francafrique” – the term used to refer to France’s controversial, complicated politico-economic relationship with Africa.

 

Though well-meant, the speech has been criticized for its paternalistic tone and for reiterating the supremacy of Europe.

 

“There are some who have come here and said, ‘The African man has not made his mark in history, yet,’” said Ségolène Royal, before a gathering of about 500 people. “Pardon, pardon, pardon, for this humiliating discourse which should never have been uttered and I tell you in full confidence that it does not represent the views of France or the French people.”
 

Date created : 2009-04-07

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