Thu, 02 Feb 2023

Ouagadougou [Burkina Faso], January 23 (ANI): Burkina Faso has asked France to move its troops out of the country within a month, according to a letter from the authorities in Ouagadougou to Paris, the state news agency AIB reported on Saturday.

The foreign ministry letter, dated January 18, ends the 2018 agreement under which French troops were stationed there, and set a deadline of a month for their departure.

"The Burkinabe government last Wednesday denounced the accord which has governed, since 2018, the presence of French armed forces on its territory," AIB said, adding that authorities had given France a month to complete its pull-out.

Earlier Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron was asked about Ouagadougou's request that French troops leave the country, as reported late Saturday by Burkina Faso's state news agency AIB.

Macron urged "a lot of prudence", saying there was "great confusion" over the remarks reported in the media and said military junta leader Ibrahim Traore needed to take a public stance.

"We are waiting for clarifications on the part of Traore," he told reporters.

A source close to the government late Saturday confirmed the report by AIB that the ruling junta wanted French troops out within a month.

The military junta, led by Captain Ibrahim Traore, seized power last September in the second coup in the former French colony in eight months.

France has 400 special forces soldiers stationed in junta-ruled Burkina to battle an Islamist insurgency, but relations have deteriorated in recent months.

Since the current military regime seized power in September there have been several demonstrations calling for the departure of the French ambassador, and the French troops there.

There are signs that Burkina Faso, like its neighbour Mali, is turning towards Russia as a partner, reported France24.

"Russia is a reasonable choice in this dynamic," Burkinabe Prime Minister Apollinaire Kyelem de Tembela said last week following a meeting with the Russian ambassador.

Traore's regime has been seeking to rekindle ties with Russia since his coup.

French troops withdrew from Mali last year after a 2020 coup in the former French colony saw its rulers also inch closer to Russia.

Meanwhile, demonstrators gathered in Burkina's capital Ouagadougou on Friday to demand the French ambassador leave the country and that the French military base there be closed.

Several hundred flocked to a central square carrying placards with slogans such as "French army, get out".

Mohamed Sinon, one of the main leaders of the collective that called the demonstration, said it was to show support for junta leader Traore and the security forces fighting jihadists.

Protesters carried huge posters showing the presidents of Mali and Guinea -- both of whom also came to power in coups -- as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In October, anti-France demonstrators gathered outside the country's embassy in Ouagadougou and the French cultural centre was attacked, reported France24.

Another demonstration outside the embassy followed in November, and earlier this month, the French foreign ministry said the junta had asked it to replace ambassador Luc Hallade after he ruffled feathers with reports on Burkina's worsening security situation. (ANI)

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