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France withdraws its soldiers from Burkina Faso

France withdraws its soldiers from Burkina Faso

Due to huge tensions with the interim government in Burkina Faso, France will withdraw its soldiers from the country within a month.

Against the backdrop of huge tensions with the interim government in Burkina Faso, France wants to withdraw its soldiers from the West African country within a month. “We have officially received the termination of the agreement,” the Foreign Ministry said in Paris on Wednesday. A ministry spokesman said France would honor the one-month deadline.

The most recent agreement to deploy French soldiers to Burkina Faso was signed in 2018. France currently has around 400 special forces in the West African country to fight jihadist groups there.

The Military Council is approaching Russia

The junta, which has been in power since September, has moved closer to Russia in recent months. With the help of mercenaries Wagner Group And anti-French campaigns on the Internet, Russia is expanding its influence in Africa. France had already withdrawn its soldiers from Mali last summer.

The diplomatic circles in Paris said that the withdrawal of soldiers is scheduled to take place by the end of February. The last material must be taken out of the country by April.

The soldiers are scheduled to be transferred to neighboring Niger, where 2,000 French soldiers are already stationed. Niger is one of the last countries allied with France in the region.

The interim government in Burkina Faso had earlier demanded the withdrawal of French soldiers within a month. President of France Emmanuel Macron But he replied that he was waiting for clarifications from interim President Ibrahim Traoré.

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diplomatic relations in question

“We are only finalizing the agreement on the presence of French soldiers in Burkina Faso, not diplomatic relations,” a Burkina Faso government spokesman said on Monday.

However, the government of Burkina Faso had already called on the French ambassador for a change in December. She accused the diplomat of making inappropriate remarks about the security situation in the country.

Operational area in the Sahel region

It was decided to deploy French soldiers to Burkina Faso under the name Saber (Sword) in 2009 in response to several hostage-takings and an attack on the French Embassy in Mauritania. One of the goals was to defend French interests. In recent years, French soldiers have fought various jihadist groups and killed many of their leaders.

Recently, however, anti-French sentiment has intensified in the Sahel. The government of Burkina Faso has openly stated that it wants to strengthen the partnership with Russia.