Suspension of visas in Niger: Paris practices neither “boycott”, “nor reprisals”, ures Rima Abdul-Malak

“We never boycott artists,” ured the Minister of Culture. The world of culture, through the voice of several professional unions, protested Thursday after a directive from the administration requesting the suspension of all collaboration with artists from the Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso. Invited on RTL this Friday morning, the Minister of Culture, Rima Abdul-Malak, wanted to clarify things, ensuring that France practiced “neither boycott”, “nor reprisals” towards these artists.

Given the security context, “France is reducing its teams in embies,” she explained. “It is therefore not physically possible to issue visas for artists wishing to come to France.” Nothing more, she ured. But “there is no question of stopping exchanges with these cultural places”, underlined the minister, adding only that “the current conditions for implementing projects [artistiques] are made very difficult.

“We are only talking about a few cases of requests,” she noted, uring that people “who already had a visa will be able to come” to France. This situation should last “a few weeks”, according to the Minister of Culture. “France has always been there to welcome artists in danger.” “We will continue to do it,” she also said.

“A major error from a political point of view”

The Syndeac (National Union of Artistic and Cultural Enterprises) and its counterparts reacted strongly in a press release published Thursday evening, after the announcement of the directive requesting a suspension of these collaborations. “This total ban concerning three countries going through very serious crises obviously makes no sense from an artistic point of view and constitutes a major error from a political point of view. It is quite the opposite that should be done,” criticized the Syndeac.

“This policy of banning the circulation of artists and their works has never prevailed in any other international crisis, from the most recent with Russia, to the oldest and most lasting, with China,” he said. added in the press release. France interrupted on July 29 with Niger and on August 6 with Burkina Faso all its helping actions development and budget support. In November 2022, she had already done so for Mali.

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