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Russia reopens embassy in African state

The diplomatic mission in Burkina Faso had been closed since 1992

The Russian embassy in Burkina Faso has officially resumed operations after being closed for over three decades. The move on Thursday comes just five months after President Vladimir Putin and the interim leader of the West African country, Ibrahim Traore, discussed strengthening diplomatic relations in July.

The reopening of the mission demonstrates that Russia-Burkinabe cooperation is on the “right track,” Ouagadougou’s foreign affairs minister, Jean Marie Traore Karamoko, said during a meeting with Alexey Saltykov, Moscow’s ambassador to Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), the day before.

It will allow the Russian ambassador accredited to Burkina Faso to consolidate the achievements already made between the two countries and also to open other perspectives in the direction of strengthening collaboration between Burkina Faso and the Russian Federation,” Karamoko added, according to local outlet Burkina24.

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Russia closed its diplomatic mission in Burkina Faso in 1992, and the former French colony shut its own in Moscow in 1996, reportedly due to financial constraints. However, in 2013, Ouagadougou reopened its embassy in Russia. The Russian Embassy in Ivory Coast has since been in charge of relations with Burkina Faso.

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin issued directives in August to reopen Moscow’s embassies in Equatorial Guinea and Burkina Faso, following President Putin’s declaration of plans to do so at the recent Russia-Africa summit in St. Petersburg. He said this would significantly enhance Russia’s partnership with African countries in various fields, including politics, economics, humanitarianism, culture, and tourism.

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While France has accused Russia of spreading disinformation in Africa, particularly in Burkina Faso and Mali, where Paris has suffered military setbacks, Ouagadougou has hailed Moscow as a strategic ally. In May, Ibrahim Traore, who has ruled the Sahel nation since September last year after deposing the previous military government in a coup and later expelling French troops, stated that he was “satisfied” with the “frank” relations with Russia.

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Saltykov, who will continue to lead the mission in Burkina Faso until a new ambassador is named, has previously dismissed French claims that Moscow is pursuing a “predatory project” on the continent as a reflection of Western countries’ neocolonial approach to cooperation with African states.

Meanwhile, Russian food aid is expected to arrive in Ouagadougou in the coming days, the envoy announced during the meeting with Burkinabe officials on Wednesday. Somalia received 25,000 tons of humanitarian wheat from Russia earlier this month, as Moscow committed to assisting six African countries facing food insecurity by the end of the year.

December 28, 2023 at 06:52PM
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