French ‘policies’ are the problem not its ‘people’ say...

In an interview marked by heightened tension with France, Burkina Faso’s junta leader emphasizes that his country is not “hostile to the French people” but rather to the “policies” of the French government.

France pulled out its troops from its former colony amid rising hostility following the takeover by Captain Ibrahim Traore in September 2022.

“We are not the enemy of the French people, it’s the policies of those governing France which is the problem in Africa,” Traore said in an interview broadcast late Wednesday with the state channel RTB.

“As long as a state doesn’t have an imperialistic mindset… there’s no problem,” he said.

“We have to accept seeing each other as equals… and accept an overhaul of our entire cooperation,” he said.

Traore directed criticism at Burkina’s historical ties with France.

“They brought in people to sign lots of agreements… which prevent us from developing,” he said, without elaborating.

Traore also implied that France had not been successful in assisting the Burkinabe military in their prolonged battle against the ongoing jihadist insurgency.

“We have new partners who are supporting us in terms of equipment and other ways,” he said, without identifying them.

Following the French withdrawal in January, Burkina has established stronger diplomatic ties with Russia, which is an ally of the junta in neighboring Mali.

In July, Traore had a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin during the Russia-Africa summit in Saint Petersburg. Just last week, he engaged in discussions with a Russian delegation regarding matters related to development and military cooperation.

On Monday, Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister, Olivia Rouamba, conducted discussions in Tehran with President Ebrahim Raissi. During the meeting, she expressed her aspiration for enhanced bilateral collaboration with Iran.

The economically disadvantaged, landlocked nation is currently grappling with a jihadist campaign that originated from Mali in 2015.

An NGO monitoring group known as the Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project (ACLED) reports that over 16,000 civilians, soldiers, and police have lost their lives.

Over two million individuals have been compelled to leave their residences, resulting in one of Africa’s most severe internal displacement crises.

Anger among the armed forces culminated in a coup on January 24, 2022, resulting in the ousting of the democratically elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

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