France to withdraw troops from Burkina Faso within 1 month

France will respect the terms of Burkina Faso’s request to withdraw its forces from the West Afri­can country within a month, France’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

On Monday, Burkina Faso said it had decided to end a military accord that allowed French troops to fight insur­gents on its territory because the government wants the country to defend itself.

“On Tuesday, January 24, we formally received the denuncia­tion, by the Burkinabe govern­ment, of the 2018 agreement relating to the status of the French forces present in this country,” the ministry said in a statement sent to Reuters.

“In accordance with the terms of the agreement, the denunciation takes effect one month after receipt of the writ­ten notification. We will work the terms of this agreement by complying with this request.”

The West African country is facing an Islamist insurgency by groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State, which have taken over large swathes of land and displaced millions of people in the wider Sahel region, just south of the Sahara.

Burkina Faso’s national television reported on Saturday that the government had sus­pended a 2018 military accord with Paris on Jan. 18, giving France one month to pull its troops out.

The country has followed a similar course to neighbouring Mali, falling out with Paris after a military coup brought a junta to power and the French presence became increasingly unpopular among the public.

The Burkinabe govern­ment has assured Paris it will not follow Mali by turning to Russia’s Wagner to back up its army — although a liaison team from the mercenary group has already visited—FRANCE 24 with AFP, Reuters

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