Burkina Faso has opted to terminate a military agreement that permitted French forces to battle militants on its territory because the administration believes the country should be able to defend itself, the government announced on Monday.
The West African country is dealing with an insurgency led by groups affiliated with al Qaeda and the Islamic State, which has taken over significant swaths of land and displaced millions of people in the Sahel region just south of the Sahara.
On Saturday, the national television station claimed that the government had canceled a 2018 military agreement with Paris on January 18, giving France one month to withdraw its troops.
On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron said he was waiting for explanation from Burkina Faso’s interim president, Ibrahim Traore, on the decision.
“At the current stage, we don’t see how to be more clear than this,” said government spokesman Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo on national television.
He stated that the decision was not influenced by any specific occurrence, but that it was the natural order of things for France to delegate responsibility for its own defence to Burkina Faso. He said that the one-month deadline is part of the military agreement.
“This is not the end of diplomatic relations between Burkina Faso and France,” Ouedraogo said, adding that his country still needed military supplies.
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