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French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna out as France changes cabinet

With French President Emmanuel Macron still in charge of his country's foreign policies, Colonna's exit is unlikely to affect Paris' Middle East positions.
France's Minister of Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna (2R) meets with soldiers of the French contingent of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), outside the Pine Residence, the French Ambassador's official residence in Beirut, on December 18, 2023. France's top diplomat is in Lebanon on December 18, for talks on de-escalating near-daily exchanges of fire on the Israel border, which have triggered fears of all-out conflict. (Photo by Anwar AMRO / AFP) (Photo by ANWAR AMRO/AFP via Getty Image

PARIS — French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, nominated to her position in May 2022, will be replaced after French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne resigned from her position Monday evening. Colonna's exit was made official on Thursday; she will be replaced by Stephane Sejourne. 

Sejourne has been serving for the past year and a half as secretary-general of President Emmanuel Macron’s Renaissance party. When Macron won his first election in 2017, Sejourne joined as a political adviser at the Elysee. He is considered especially close to both the president and newly appointed French Prime Minister Gabriel Attal.

Colonna, through her 19-month tenure, oversaw a packed Middle East agenda. Since the Oct. 7 attacks and the Gaza war, Colonna has been in contact with different players in the Middle East on four major issues: calling for a humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza Strip, increasing humanitarian aid, advancing a deal for the liberation of the hostages and preventing any further escalation on the Israel-Lebanon border. She also visited Israel, the Palestinian territories and Lebanon during the war. 

On Saturday, Colonna spoke about these issues with Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. She also spoke recently with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki and Israeli war cabinet Minister Benny Gantz. 

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