Burkina Faso confirmed it had requested the departure of French troops

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A spokesman for the Burkina Faso government confirmed Monday, January 23, 2023, that Burkinabe authorities had requested the departure of French troops based in the country, within one month. ” What we criticize is the agreement that allowed French troops to be present in Burkina Faso. This was not the end of diplomatic relations between Burkina Faso and France “, said Jean-Emmanuel Ouédraogo in an interview on Radio-Television du Burkina (RTB). France replied that it was still waiting for clarification from the transitional president of Burkinabè Ibrahim Traoré regarding this request, said a spokesperson for the Quai d’Orsay.

Burkina Faso has indeed requested the departure of French troops based in that country, within one month, a government spokesman said on January 23. ” French troops are based in Ouagadougou at the request of Burkina Faso and its authoritiessaid Jean-Emmanuel Ouédraogo, in an interview on Radio-Télévision du Burkina (RTB). This complaint is in the normal order, provided for in the terms of the military agreement. »

He also clarified on RTB that “cWhat we criticize is the agreement that allowed French troops to be present in Burkina Faso. This was not the end of diplomatic relations between Burkina Faso and France “.

The French Foreign Ministry told AFP it was still waiting for clarifications from Burkinabe’s transitional president Ibrahim Traoré regarding this request.

At the current stage, we see no reason for the French side not to respect the terms of the signed agreement.

Jean-Emmanuel Ouédraogo, spokesman for the Burkinabè government

On Sunday January 22, French President Emmanuel Macron said he was waiting for ” clarification ” on a possible request for the departure of French troops, was questioned after publicationa post from the Burkinabè News Agency (AIB) claimed that the government had ” deed “withdraw this” from the territory “.

There was no reaction from the military

After this confirmation from the spokesperson for the Burkinabè government, which therefore requested the withdrawal of the Saber troops, this evening, in the entourage of the Ministry of Armed Forces and the General Staff, we have no comment on the statement.

As long as Captain Traoré, the transitional president, hasn’t spoken out for himself, any departure from the Saber Army is premature. No subject. This, in essence, is a held discourse.

This French position was probably meant to save time, precious time because the defense agreement, signed in 2018, between Paris and Ouagadougou stipulated that the departure of French troops should be effective, one month to a day, upon request by the Burkinabè authorities. .

However, a month to move the workforce of around 400 soldiers is short,” Too short say the experts. ” Two months would be better and three months would be comfortable “, they added.

Not to be compared with the withdrawal of the Barkhane Troop from Mali, Saber’s departure will be a real logistical challenge, with dozens of containers to be transported to the ports of Cotonou or Abidjan, and a dozen helicopters to return home.

If there is a departure, it will not necessarily be the end for Saber. Part of the Special Forces, perhaps a hundred soldiers, may remain in the Sahel zone to continue the mission, namely to neutralize the senior leaders of armed terrorist groups, particularly the Islamic State in the Greater Sahara.

Burkina Faso currently hosts a contingent of nearly 400 members of the French special forces, the Saber troopers. This West African country, especially in its north, has faced increasing attacks from groups linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State organization (ISIS) since 2015. They have left thousands of people dead and at least two million displaced.

► To read also: Burkina Faso: new demonstrations against French military presence in Ouagadougou

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