The Head of State Paul BIYA and other leaders from Africa had a working luncheon at the Elysée (French Presidency) on 13 July 2010 in prelude to their participation at the National Day celebration in France.
The luncheon started with two speeches, by President Nicolas SARKOZY and President Paul BIYA who gave the response on behalf of the African Heads of State from Benin, Burkina Faso, Congo, Gabon, Mali, Mauritania, Chad, Togo, the Central African Republic and Senegal.
During the toast, the French President announced the end of the “French pré-carré”, a notion which is related to the behaviour of French officials towards their former colonies. He said that France will open up to the whole of Africa to defend its interests.
The French President refuted allegations that the invitation of African leaders to France was to celebrate their independence anniversaries in the place of the African countries themselves, saying that it was simply an occasion for the two parties to celebrate their common history.
In his response, the Cameroonian Head of State President Paul BIYA had the same reading of the meeting, which was to celebrate the common historical background and the desire to build the future together. President Paul BIYA recognized that many ways were taken to attain independence, as some countries fought for it, while others were simply awarded independence. To the Head of State, what matters is that these countries assumed full responsibility for their future.
On Wednesday 14 Jul 2010, the 12 African Heads of State will also witness the military march past at the Avenue des Champs Elysée, where troops from their countries will take part. The Cameroonian Army is represented at this festival by the airborne Battalion from Koutaba under the command of Lieutenant- Colonel Severin EYENGA.