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Africa watchers say that despite the promises of a new approach, it’s unlikely that France’s policies toward the continent will change much. Protesters waited for the leader to emerge from the parliament building on Friday, hoping to give him a copy of their fliers decrying the difficulty in getting visas to go to France.
Immigrants who violate the terms of their visas have been returned on repatriation flights, dubbed the "Sarkozy charters."
"It seems that every time that a new French president comes in, he promises that his arrival will spell the end of Franceafrique. So will this now be the end of doing things through back channels, and the end of cozying up to dictators?" asked Richard Downie, deputy director for the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
"Old habits die hard. In policy terms, will we see much difference? I think not. But I think the tone will be different."
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