The French ambassador to Burkina Faso, Luc Hallade, estimated on Tuesday evening that everyone had an "interest" in ensuring that this country, plagued by jihadist violence, "stays upright".
This was after an interview with the Prime Minister of Burkina Faso Appolinaire Kyélem de Tembela.
Faced with criticism of France's presence in Burkina Faso, Mr. Hallade stressed that his country felt it should be at its side, "because we all have an interest in Burkina remaining standing for the whole region". "As long as the Burkinabè authorities wish, ' France ' remains a partner of Burkina Faso", he added.
He recalled that Paris was "the first bilateral partner in Burkina Faso" within particular "more than 100 million euros per year of commitment through the French Development Agency (AFD)".
Regarding the presence of the 400 members of the French special forces present in Ouagadougou, he declared that they "will remain here as long as the Burkinabè authorities wish, but in an adapted, more restricted format, certainly with greater interweaving with the Burkinabè special forces".
Military cooperation "will evolve", he assured, because "Barkhane, it's over".
“All of this is under discussion, in negotiation” and “we will continue this dialogue”, affirmed Mr. Hallade, adding: “I hope that we can try to improve things, to possibly remove ambiguities or misunderstandings, ensure that our cooperation can be more effective, more efficient and above all meet the needs expressed by the government".
France, which still deploys some 3,000 soldiers in the Sahel, has officially ended its anti-jihadist operation Barkhane and has given itself six months to finalize its new strategy in Africa.
On November 18, a demonstration against the presence of France in Burkina Faso, undermined by jihadist violence, targeted the French embassy in Ouagadougou and the military base of Kamboisin, on the outskirts of the capital, where the contingent of Saber Force special forces.
French interests in Burkina Faso, including the embassy and two French cultural institutes, had already been attacked by demonstrators during the September 30 coup which brought to power a young captain aged 34 years, Ibrahim Traoré, invested since the president of the transition.
In several French-speaking African countries, Moscow enjoys growing popular support when France, a former colonial power, is vilified there. In Burkina Faso, the ruling junta has not closed the door to a rapprochement with Russia.
In his general policy statement two weeks ago, Prime Minister Apollinaire Kyélem de Tembela said that "some partners have not always been loyal", without citing countries.