France decided to call its ambassador in Burkina Faso for consultations after the announcement on Wednesday to withdraw its troops from the West African country. The Elysee’s decision to leave this territory is due to the termination of a bilateral agreement that had existed since 2018 and that sought France to help in the region in the fight against jihadist terrorism.
The French Government, through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, resigned its ambassador in Burkina Faso one day after France announced the withdrawal of troops in the African country.
Paris said it made the decision given “the context of recent events” and called the ambassador for consultations to learn more “about the state and prospects of our bilateral cooperation,” the ministry said in a statement.
France decided to withdraw its military presence within a month, just as the military junta that governs the African country had demanded. The contingent of the European country consists of 400 men who belong to the special forces.
In December of last year, the Burkinabe authorities had requested the French ambassador, Luc Hallade, to leave the country.
In fact, the country has suffered attacks since 2015, especially in the north, which are perpetrated by terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, which have seized large tracts of land and displaced millions of people in the wider region of the Sahel, just south of the Sahara.
On January 10, the French Secretary of State for Development, La Francophonie and International Agreements, Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, visited the country and reaffirmed the Elysee’s commitment to support them in their fight against jihadist groups.
The population of Burkina Faso has shown in recent weeks its rejection of the French military presence and its interests in the country, which it has maintained since 2018, since France is accused of not doing enough to deal with the Islamist insurgency, which is has spread from Mali.
Burkina Faso’s decision is similar to that taken by the Malian authorities who asked the French military detachment that was in their territory to fight against jihadist terrorism to leave the country.
This decision by the two African countries to request the withdrawal of French troops represents a rapprochement with Russia and in particular with the Wagner paramilitary group, which has been in Burkina Faso since 2021.
The exit from Burkina Faso
On Wednesday, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs said it had received notification that a 2018 agreement on the status of French troops in the country had been terminated.
“According to the terms of the agreement, the denunciation takes effect one month after receipt of the written notification. We will comply with the terms of this agreement by complying with this request,” the ministerial body said.
It is possible, according to French diplomatic and defense sources, that the special forces will move to Niger, a West African nation, where a significant contingent of French and European forces is currently based. Paris also has a significant military presence in Chad.
Burkina Faso suffered two coups in 2022, one on January 24 that was led by Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, and another led by the current head of state, Captain Ibrahim Traoré, who revolted on September 30. .
This seizure of power by the military occurred on both occasions due to the discontent of the population with respect to the actions of the Army after jihadist attacks, which have left nearly 1.9 million people displaced, according to data provided by the Government.
With EFE and Reuters