After the emotional response from the cultural world, France denies any cultural boycott of Sahel countries.

Can’t reword.

La France n’a aucune intention de rompre ses liens culturels avec le Burkina Faso, le Mali et le Niger, trois pays du Sahel désormais aux mains de militaires putschistes, mais ne pourra pas délivrer de visas aux artistes de ces pays dans l’immédiat, a déclaré vendredi la ministre de la Culture, Rima Abdul-Malak.

« France, a welcoming land for artists »

« I cannot reword »

These statements aim to reassure French show and concert promoters, many of whom received instructions from the government this week to cease all cooperation with institutions and artists from Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, and to suspend their financial support to them. On Thursday, the French Union of Artistic and Cultural Enterprises (Syndeac) highlighted an unprecedented ban on cooperation and requested an immediate meeting with the Minister of Culture. Several left-wing political figures expressed outrage, such as former Minister of Culture under François Hollande, Aurélie Filippetti, who denounced a « scandalous and absurd » decision that « truly damages the image of our country. »

La faute aux putschistes

Asked about this during a visit to Burgundy, Emmanuel Macron blamed the coup plotters for this situation. « Yes, we have stopped actions in the Sahel but not at home, that’s the distinction I make and that’s where the confusion lies. Because in Burkina, Mali, and Niger, there are coup plotters who are now attacking us, attacking culture in their own countries and preventing us from doing so, » said the President of the Republic. « Today, in Mali, Niger, and Burkina, you have enemies of their own people, enemies of freedom of expression, enemies of culture. That’s a fact, » he added.

« On ne boycotte d’artistes de nulle part »

Rima Abdul-Malak expressed her regret that the message had caused misunderstandings, adding that she had asked her ministry to send clarifications to cultural operators. « France has decided to reduce its teams in embassies and consulates and close visa services, so it is not currently possible to issue visas for artists or any other person requesting visas from these countries to come to France, » explained the minister. « We are not boycotting artists from anywhere (…) for security reasons that I hope are temporary, it is not possible to make these exchanges in the coming weeks. All artists who already have planned tours or shows will be able to come as planned, » she reassured.