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Lavrov hails closer ties with Burkina Faso

The Russian foreign minister meets his Burkinabe counterpart and welcomes the revival in relations between the two countries

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov has lauded Burkina Faso for being the first nation to allow Moscow to reopen its embassy, as part of a Russian government program to revive diplomatic missions in African nations.

Lavrov made the comments on Tuesday while on a working visit to the West African nation, whose military leadership has repeatedly touted Russia as a reliable ally.

During talks in the capital, Ouagadougou, with the Burkinabe foreign minister, Karamoko Jean Marie Traore, Lavrov said relations between Russia and the former French colony are growing, primarily due to agreements reached by the two countries’ presidents at the Russia-Africa Summit last year.

“Our relations have a good history. They are based on mutual sympathy, trust and mutual respect. Contacts are very intense at all levels,” the diplomat stated.

“Thank you very much for your effective assistance in resolving issues that allowed us to resume the activities of our embassy in Ouagadougou,” Lavrov added.

The Russian embassy in Burkina Faso resumed operations in December, five months after President Vladimir Putin and the Sahel state’s interim leader, Ibrahim Traore, met in St. Petersburg, and discussed efforts to strengthen diplomatic relations.

The Russian mission in Burkina Faso was closed in 1992, and the former French colony shut its own embassy in Moscow in 1996, reportedly due to financial constraints. However, in 2013, Ouagadougou reopened its embassy in Russia. The Russian embassy in Ivory Coast had previously handled relations with Burkina Faso.

While France and some of its Western allies have accused Russia of pursuing predatory projects in Africa and spreading disinformation, particularly in Burkina Faso and Mali, where Paris has suffered military setbacks, Ouagadougou has welcomed Moscow as a strategic partner.

In May last year, Traore – who has ruled the landlocked nation since September 2022 after deposing the previous military government in a coup and expelling French troops – stated that he was “satisfied” with the “frank” relationship with Russia.

Moscow has also pledged to strengthen mutually beneficial relations with African governments in several areas, including defense, food security, education, and scientific research.

Aside from Burkina Faso, many African countries – including the former French colonies of Mali and Niger – have expressed growing dissatisfaction with traditional Western partners such as France and the US, with some turning to Russia for assistance in combating terrorism.

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Russia and Congo strengthening ties – Lavrov

Lavrov, who began a tour of selected African nations on Tuesday, has been reiterating Moscow’s desire to strengthen ties with the continent. The top Russian diplomat arrived in Ouagadougou late on Tuesday after meeting with officials in the Republic of Congo earlier that day. He began his tour with a stop in Guinea on Monday.

The Russian foreign minister is scheduled to meet with Burkina Faso’s transitional president, Traore, on Wednesday, and is then expected to depart for Chad.

Lavrov has made several working trips to Africa over the last year, including South Africa, Kenya, Mozambique, Morocco, and Tunisia.

June 05, 2024 at 03:33PM
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