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“Before breaking all relations with South Africa, we called upon a country of the so-called Western camp to give us a loan of 2 billion FMG. The loan was promised to us lip service and subsequently refused. Now, People’s Republic of China has agreed to lend us these 2 billion FMG so that we can repay the South African investments for the complex of Nosy Be. On top of that, she gave us this long-term, interest-free loan. Is this selling Madagascar to the countries of the communist bloc? If yes, then I am a brade, and we are going to sell off in this way “(Bulletin de Madagascar, March-April 1973). These were the remarks made, among others, by the Commander of the Foreign Affairs Minister Didier Ratsiraka, two days before he embarked for Paris. He will lead the Malagasy delegation to negotiations on the new cooperation agreements between the two countries.
On Thursday, 18 January 1973, he gave a press conference to some 80 journalists, during which he explained his mission. He thus takes up the causes of the events of May 1972 which ignited the Great Island. “The cooperation agreements of 1960 were signed between two unequally sovereign partners. Indeed, these agreements were negotiated in April 1960 while independence was only granted to us in the following June. “
He occasionally takes up a definition of the word “cooperation” by Kosciuszko-Morizet, former French Permanent Delegate to the UN. “If a black man makes me cross the river with his canoe, he makes some assistance; But if in addition he teaches me to paddle so that I can cross it alone next time, then he does cooperation. “For the head of the Malagasy diplomacy, it is” clear and clear “, before Define itself what it means by cooperation. According to him, it is a kind of civil marriage which, for want of love, must be of reason. “If the two partners are unequally strong, that does not hold the moment they have the same rights and the same duties. Hence the need to conclude new agreements on an entirely new basis between two equal partners in law.
“There is no question for us of alienating our sovereignty and our honor”, especially since sovereignty and honor are not negotiable. He concluded his press conference by saying: “The delegation intends to defend the national interest. If France does not accept respect for national honor and sovereignty, we prefer to return empty-handed. “
On Saturday, January 10, a crowd filled the Ivato airport to greet the departure of the Malagasy delegation. And before the opening of the negotiations in Paris, opinions are issued by political parties, trade unions, local press.
Ady Gasy of 22 January writes: “The definitions given by Minister Ratsiraka in a measured tone are far from being a narrow yoke. It is a minimum below which our delegates can not descend without compromising the national dignity which has long been disregarded. “

The AKFM party, in a communiqué of 22 January, expresses its satisfaction with the government’s orientation to its relations with other countries. The Malagasy Communist Party, PCM, believes that “the old agreements were intended to maintain French colonization. This time, it will be a matter of rethinking the cooperation between France and Madagascar – which must remain friends – on new bases “.
The Republican Party of Mr. Adrien Ramboa expresses to Minister Ratsiraka and to the government the confidence it gives them, but a confidence that is not unconditional since it reserves to pronounce according to the results. The Malagasy Socialist Union and its General Secretary, André Resampa, in a communiqué dated 18 January, wished “that the negotiations should take place without any demagogy and in the sole interest of the Malagasy people, especially the working mass.”
Alexis Bezaka’s Christian Democratic Party of Malagasy believes that there can be no question of breaking with France. On the other hand, a revision is required both by the people and by the circumstances.
The Union of Higher Education Teachers and Researchers calls for “the total abolition of agreements with foreign countries and their renewal if necessary”. The Joint Committee of Militants of May (KIM), the MFM, the Union of Christian Democrats of Madagascar are for “the independence of the currency, the suppression of military bases and cultural imperialism”.
We conclude with Siradiou Diallo who writes in the weekly Jeune Afrique of January 20: “Difficult negotiations in perspective. Nevertheless, the Franco-Malagasy negotiations promise to be tight. That is to say that each of the two parties, the Madagascan David and the French Goliath, intends to gather the maximum assets. Whatever the outcome of the game, other African states will learn useful lessons. “