After a downturn in bilateral relations in recent months, Burkina Faso declared on Sunday (February 19) that French military operations in the West African nation were now completely over. Top officers from the Burkinabe and French forces in the country conducted a flag-lowering ceremony to mark the event on Saturday at a camp outside of the nation’s capital, Ouagadougou, according to a statement from the Burkinabe army.
As Burkina Faso’s ruling junta demanded the military leave within four weeks, France said last month that it will withdraw its contingent of hundreds of soldiers stationed there, said an AFP report.
The request was made just a few days after Burkina’s Prime Minister Apollinaire Kyelem de Tembela said that Russia would make a “reasonable” strong ally in the fight against jihadists.
“This does not mean the end of diplomatic relations between Burkina Faso and France,” government spokesman Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo told broadcaster RTV following the announcement.
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Once France’s military presence in the area is minimised, their departure would mark yet another important milestone.
The anti-jihadist Barkhane mission there was terminated in 2022 by French President Emmanuel Macron after a decade at the demand of the junta in neighbouring Mali.
(With inputs from agencies)