Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, Secretary of State to the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, visited Ouagadougou on Tuesday, January 10. At the end of her meeting with the president of the transition of Burkina Faso Ibrahim Traoré, the French diplomat reaffirmed the commitment of Paris to Ouagadougou, while diplomatic relations between Burkina Faso and France have deteriorated significantly in recent months.
“France does not impose anything, it is available to invent a future together,” she said, adding. “I have not come here to influence any choice or decision, no one can dictate its choices in Burkina” and “we agreed with President Traoré to move forward together in this spirit.
Chrysoula Zacharopoulou, who said she came to Ouagadougou to listen to the expectations of the new authorities and discuss the new direction of the partnership between the two countries, also “agreed with President Traoré to move forward together. France is willing to move forward with Burkina Faso,” she said.
The visit of the Secretary of State comes in a context where the French presence is strongly contested in the country of upright men. While the proximity of the Burkinabe authorities with Russia is increasingly noticed and is in the news.
“Consistent with this message, France remains committed on all levels (humanitarian, security, development), to the degree and in the forms that the Burkinabe authorities wish,” said Chrysoula Zacharopoulou.
Last December, the Burkinabe authorities asked Paris to replace the French ambassador posted in Ouagadougou, Luc Hallade. The diplomat accredited to Burkina since 2019, seems to no longer inspire confidence in the new authorities of the transition of Burkina Faso. To this end, Chrysoula Zachararopoulou said: “we have agreed to deal with the issue in good understanding, within the diplomatic framework.
Plagued by a security crisis fueled by terrorist attacks since 2015 that have claimed thousands of lives, Burkina Faso has pledged to diversify its partnerships in the military field to intensify the fight against terrorism. Moscow has thus become an “ally” of Ouagadougou in this struggle. But although their presence is constantly decried, French military troops in Burkina “will remain there as long as their presence is desired by the new authorities”, said Chrysoula Zacharopoulou.