YEREVAN, Armenia — Justin Trudeau has begun his stay in Armenia talking for about half an hour with the secretary-general outgoing of the international Organization of the Francophonie (OIF), Michaëlle Jean, on Wednesday evening. Nothing was known of this meeting, which comes at a time when the Canadian, who has just been dropped by his own country seems determined to hang on until the end.
The office of the prime minister, who had not notified the media in advance of the holding of this interview, had not meant to say what was said behind closed doors. But the government’s position has not changed, said a government source : Ottawa rally around the consensus that will emerge from meetings of the summit of the Francophonie.
The canadian leader arrived in Yerevan with prime minister-designate of Quebec, François Legault, to whom he had offered the transport on board of the Airbus of the canadian government. The two men, whose governments had repudiated on Tuesday the nomination of Ms. Jean, hoped to be swept under the carpet the issue of the leadership race in treading the soil of the republic.
But it was without counting on the fighting spirit of the candidate. This last considers, apparently, that his fate is not yet sealed. In fact, it seems to deny the existence of the “consensus” to which Ottawa and Quebec city have signified their intention of joining. “A consensus implies a discussion that needs to be done in the rules”, argued in an email his spokesperson, Bertin Leblanc.
“The summit starting tomorrow [Thursday], there is no doubt that this discussion will take place between the heads of States and governments behind closed doors”, he added in the message sent, while Justin Trudeau and François Legault were above the Atlantic, en route to the summit of the Francophonie.
No meeting with Michaëlle Jean was not listed on the agenda of the leader of the Coalition avenir Québec (CAQ) at the time of publishing these lines, late Wednesday night, hour of Yerevan. His entourage has reported that the two had not had a discussion since the chief caquiste has published on Tuesday a tweet in which he announced that he could not support the candidacy of the ex-journalist.
The election to the post of secretary general of the OIF is traditionally made by consensus and not by vote. The Trudeau government had recently attempted to convince the candidate that his chances were practically nil as against her rival, Louise Mushikiwabo, rwandan minister of foreign Affairs, who is supported by France and the african Union (AU), but in vain.
The representatives of 84 States and governments members of the OIF meeting for the Seventeenth summit could force the holding of a vote. In such an event, how many support the former journalist could then pick up? “Impossible to say at this stage”, is simply to provide Bertin Leblanc.
If it tilts, Michaëlle Jean has been the secretary-general in the reign the shortest at the helm of the organization. His predecessor, Abdou Diouf, and Boutros Boutros-Ghali, are both remained at the controls of the Francophonie for more than a decade. The post of secretary general of the organization founded in 1970, was created in 1997.
The first leader that has met François Legault, in his baptism on the international stage is the controversial rwandan president Paul Kagame, who is the subject of new allegations surrounding his involvement in the 1994 genocide. The chief caquiste has had an interview with him in a Yerevan hotel late on Wednesday night, just hours after arriving on site.
Shortly before flying to Armenia, the leader of the CAQ had turned to Twitter to express its intention to support “a bid from that continent [Africa]”, trying to take a person likely to do the promotion of the French language and of “democratic governance”.
However, the president of Rwanda, which currently holds the rotating presidency of the african Union, is not exactly a model in this area, according to humanitarian organisations, which were accused of having suppressed the rights of his fellow-citizens, in particular during the last election in 2017, he won with almost 99 per cent of the vote.
What’s more, the Globe and Mail reported in its edition of Tuesday new evidence that forces pro-Kagame would have been involved in the attack, which marked the outbreak of the rwandan genocide of 1994. This is not the first time that allegations about an alleged role of the chair surface.
The meeting between the two men lasted for a good thirty minutes. Were also in the suite of a hotel in the city centre of the Armenian capital the candidate Mushikiwabo as well as Line Beauchamp, delegate general of Quebec in Paris. At the end of the interview, François Legault, has expressed his best wishes of success to the Rwandan. “Good luck”, he says to his intention.
Elected on the 1st October last, the leader caquiste realized with this shift in Armenian soil its first steps on the international stage. He must enjoy the opportunity to meet other heads of States and governments. A first official meeting with Justin Trudeau will take place early Thursday morning.
The two leaders have, however, already had a conversation in flight, during the portion Glasgow–Yerevan of their journey. After the entourage of Mr. Legault, they discussed for about 20 minutes of subjects, from the “new immigration” to the economy via the tricky question of wearing religious signs.
Home… in English
When the two leaders got off the plane, each in turn, they each had the right to a welcoming committee. Ironically, on the tarmac of the international airport Zvartnots, the minister of foreign Affairs of the host country of the summit of the OIF, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, exchanged with Justin Trudeau… in the language of Shakespeare.