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19 Apr, 2024 14:14

Paris slams expulsion of diplomats from African state

Burkina Faso’s charges against the officials are unfounded, the French Foreign Ministry says
Paris slams expulsion of diplomats from African state

France has criticized Burkina Faso’s military government for expelling three French diplomats from the West African nation after alleging that they had engaged in “subversive” activities.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the French Foreign Ministry said the accusations were “baseless” and that the Burkinabe authorities had no “legitimate” grounds for the decision.

“France regrets Burkina Faso’s decision to move ahead with the expulsion of French diplomats and staffers, some of whom were serving at the Embassy of France in Burkina Faso,” the ministry stated.

On Tuesday, authorities in the Sahel nation declared as personae non gratae two political advisers – Guillaume Reisacher and Herve Fournier, as well as another employee at the French embassy in Ouagadougou, Gwenaielle Habouzit.

The three staff members had 48 hours to leave the country, a deadline that expired on Thursday.

The incident is the latest in a number of major diplomatic setbacks that Paris has suffered in its former colony in recent years, including the expulsion of the French ambassador.

Paris and Ouagadougou have been at odds since Burkina Faso’s military took power in a coup in 2022. Early last year, the interim government canceled a military assistance agreement with France that had been in place since the country gained independence in 1960.

French troops stationed there to fight jihadist insurgents as part of a Sahel security mission have since been kicked out. Several French news agencies, including broadcasts by television channel France 24 and Burkina-Radio France International, have been suspended in Burkina Faso, with the military leaders accusing the networks of spreading disinformation and serving as a platform for militant groups.

In September, French defense attache Emmanuel Pasquier and his team were forced to leave Burkina Faso on similar charges of “subversive activities.” An anonymous French Foreign Ministry spokesperson reportedly dismissed the accusations as “fanciful.”

On Thursday, the ministry commended “the commitment and consummate professionalism of the diplomats and staffers” at the embassy in Ouagadougou, stating that their work conforms with international law.

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