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France will withdraw its troops from Burkina Faso within “a month”

France received Tuesday January 24 the request of the junta of Burkina Faso for the withdrawal of its troops deployed in the country and will respect the deadline of one month required, indicated Wednesday a spokesperson for the French ministry of foreign affairs.

“On Tuesday, we formally received the denunciation, by the Burkinabé government, of the 2018 agreement relating to the status of the French forces present in this country. In accordance with the terms of the agreement, the denunciation takes effect one month after receipt of the written notification. We will honor the terms of this agreement by complying with this request.”said a spokeswoman for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Burkina currently hosts a contingent of nearly 400 French special forces, the Saber force. They will have left the country “by the end of February” and the removal of all materials should be completed ” end of April “said a source familiar with the matter.

The Burkinabé government confirmed on Monday that it had requested the departure of French soldiers based in the country within a month, but Paris had replied that it was waiting for clarifications from the transitional president Ibrahim Traoré.

“It’s not about the end of diplomatic relations”

“What we are denouncing is the agreement that allows French forces to be present in Burkina Faso. This is not the end of diplomatic relations between Burkina Faso and France”said Monday noon the spokesperson for the Burkinabe government, in an interview on Radio-Television du Burkina (RTB).

France, a former colonial power, has been contested in Burkina for several months. In December, the Burkinabe authorities had asked Paris to replace the French ambassador, Luc Hallade, in their crosshairs, in particular for having reported on the deterioration of the security situation in the country.

The junta claims not to appeal to the Wagner group

On Monday, the Burkinabé government assured that it had “received all assurances that the French authorities will accede to this request this week”. But according to a diplomatic source, his fate is not yet sealed and he is still in Ouagadougou.

The Malian precedent is in everyone’s mind. After nine years of presence, the French soldiers left the country last summer, pushed out by a hostile junta which appealed to the sulphurous Russian paramilitary company Wagner.

Behind the scenes, the Burkinabe junta assures France that it does not intend to enlist the services of Wagner, whose liaison team has come to prospect in Burkina, rich in mineral resources, according to several French sources.


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