Burkina Faso

African nation expels French diplomats

Author: Editors Desk Source: RT
April 18, 2024 at 13:10
FILE PHOTO: Burkinabe soldiers visit the French embassy. ©  Ahmed OUOBA / AFP
FILE PHOTO: Burkinabe soldiers visit the French embassy. © Ahmed OUOBA / AFP

Burkina Faso has accused the officials of carrying out subversive activities

Burkina Faso’s military government has declared three French diplomats persona non grata, giving them 48 hours to leave the West African nation. The incident adds to major diplomatic setbacks Paris has suffered in the country in recent years.

In a letter dated Tuesday and addressed to the French Embassy in Ouagadougou, the Burkinabe Foreign Ministry accused the officials of committing “subversive” acts, without providing any details.

The ministry named Gwenaielle Habouzit and two political advisers, Guillaume Reisacher and Herve Fournier, as the officials who must depart the country by Thursday.

Relations between Paris and Ouagadougou have deteriorated markedly since Burkina Faso’s military took power in a coup in 2022. In March of last year, the government terminated a 1961 military assistance agreement with France that had been in place since Paris granted the Sahel country independence.

It has since ordered the withdrawal of the French ambassador and troops, as well as the suspension of several French news agencies, including broadcasts by television channel France 24 and Burkina-Radio France International. The military authorities accused the networks of false reporting and providing a platform for jihadist groups.

Last September, French defense attache Emmanuel Pasquier and his team were also expelled from Burkina Faso for “subversive activities.” An unnamed spokesperson for the French Foreign Ministry at the time dismissed the allegation as “fanciful,” according to AFP.

Burkina Faso joined Mali in strengthening ties with Russia after both countries kicked out French forces, accusing the former colonial power of meddling and failing to quell extremist violence during its decade-long military mission.

Despite Western governments’ concerns about Russia’s alleged growing influence in the Sahel region, Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, all under military rule, recently formed an alliance and agreed to intensify cooperation with Moscow in the fight against terrorism.

The leaders of the three former French colonies have repeatedly hailed Russia as a “strategic” partner and pledged to strengthen their already “excellent” relations.

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