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Macron meets Côte d'Ivoire's Ouattara, Senegal's Sall

media Côte d'Ivoire's Presient Alassane Ouattara Reuters/Thierry Gouegnon

French President Emmanuel Macron was to meet Côte d'Ivoire's President Alassane Ouattara on Sunday and Senegal's President Macky Sall on Monday, the first African heads of state to visit the Elysée presidential palace since his election last month.

As French voters cast their ballots in the first round of a parliamentary election on Sunday, Macron will welcome Ouattara to the Elysée for a meeting and press conference.

The Ivorian president has enjoyed warm relations with France for years, leading his predecessor, Laurent Gbagbo, to accuse the French of helping Ouattara topple him following 2010's disputed election.

He will be the first African president to visit the Elysée, although Macron met Mali's Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta on 19 May when he visited French troops at a military base in Gao - his first trip outside Europe.

Sall is also a big hitter in French-speaking Africa, a sphere of influence, sometimes referred to as Françafrique, that Paris has cultivated for economic and diplomatic reasons in the postcolonial era.

The Senegalese president will visit the Elysée on Monay morning for another meeting and another press conference.

Macron has met a number of world leaders, including Germany's Angela Merkel and Russia's Vladimir Putin, since he was elected.

On 16 June he will meet Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and on Wednesday and Thursday he will go to Morocco, where he will meet King Monhammed VI.

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