France maintains 400 special forces in West African country
Burkina Faso has decided to end a military pact that allowed French troops in the country because it is in line with the transition government’s vision for the Burkinabe people to defend their country, government spokesman Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo said Monday.
In 2018, Burkina Faso reached a military accord with France that allowed French troops to help fight insurgents in the country.
But on Saturday, media reports said the government had suspended the military accord, asking France to pull out its troops within a month.
Ouedraogo spoke a day after French President Emmanuel Macron asked for clarification about the demand for the departure of French troops from the West African country.
“The vision of the transition is that it is the Burkinabe themselves who must make the sacrifice for the liberation of the territory. We have faith that the commitment of the Burkinabe will be decisive,” said Ouedraogo, speaking on national television.
“What we are denouncing today is the agreement that allows French forces in Burkina Faso. It is not about the end of diplomatic relations between Burkina Faso and France,” he said, adding “at the current stage, we don’t see how to be more clear than this.”
He added that what the government expects currently most from friends is support in the form of military equipment.
Relations between France and Burkina Faso have been low since the September 2022 military coup.
Several demonstrations have been reported against the French military presence in the country on perceptions that it has been ineffective against the terrorism that has been raging in the country since 2015.
Previously, authorities in Burkina Faso also demanded “a new interlocutor” to replace the French ambassador.
Ouedraogo said the government has received all the assurances that the French authorities will replace ambassador Luc Hallade as of this week.
France maintains 400 special forces based in the country deployed to help local forces battle insurgents linked to the al-Qaeda and Daesh/ISIS terrorist organizations.