Burkina Faso hails Russia as a ‘strategic partner’

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Burkina Faso’s interim president, Capt Ibrahim Traore, has said he was satisfied with his country’s military ties with Russia, which he described as “a strategic partner”.

“I am satisfied with our military co-operation with Russia. Besides, Burkina Faso’s cooperation with Russia dates back to a long time, but we are developing it and move it further,” he said on Thursday in an interview with state-run channel RTB TV.

He denied that Russian mercenaries from the Wagner group were supporting Burkinabe forces in their fight against Islamist armed groups.

He said the exit of French forces from the country “does not mean that France is no longer an ally because the French embassy is still here”.

But he cited “new forms of co-operation” describing Russia as an an example of “a strategic ally”. He said Turkiye was a major partner.

He also mentioned North Korea, saying it had supported Burkina Faso in the past with heavy military equipment that was still in use – and would want more supplies from there.

Capt Traore said Burkina Faso has many international partners, but “will only collaborate with those who want to help us, like sell us equipment and support us”.