France recalls ambassador to Burkina Faso, pulls out troops

FILE - Supporters of Capt. Ibrahim Traore protest against France and the West African regional bloc known as ECOWAS in the streets of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022. France's foreign ministry said Wednesday Jan.25, 2023 French troops in Burkina Faso will withdraw from the country within a month, after the junta government required such move _ following in the path of neighboring Mali. A top official at the foreign ministry said France has formally received from Burkina Faso a decision to terminate the 2018 agreement that was related to the presence of French troops in the country. (AP Photo/Kilaye Bationo, File)

PARIS (AP) — The French foreign ministry said Thursday it is recalling its ambassador to Burkina Faso for consultations, one day after Paris decided to withdraw troops from the West African country following a demand by its military rulers.

A top official at the foreign ministry said the decision has been made “in the context of the latest developments in Burkina Faso” in order to conduct “consultations on the state and perspectives of our bilateral cooperation” with Ambassador Luc Hallade. The official requested anonymity in line with the French government’s customary practices.

Burkina Faso’s military junta had asked France to recall its ambassador earlier this month.

France’s foreign ministry said Wednesday that French troops deployed in Burkina Faso will have left the country within a month, in line with Burkina Faso’s notification of the termination of the 2018 agreement on the presence of French troops on its soil.

About 400 French special forces members were based in the country as part of a broader military deployment aimed at fighting extremists in Africa’s Sahel region.

Anti-French sentiment has grown in Burkina Faso, a former French colony, since junta leader Ibrahim Traore seized power in September. Traore has been more overtly open to working with other countries, notably Russia.

The move by Burkina Faso’s regime comes five months after France completed its withdrawal from Mali after nine years fighting Islamic extremists alongside regional troops.

About 3,000 French soldiers are deployed in the Sahel region, most of them based in Chad and Niger.