Burkina Faso Foreign Policy

Burkina Faso Foreign Policy

Africa

According to naturegnosis, Burkina Faso is a member of all major regional organizations such as ECOWAS, UEMOA, CEN-SAD and AU (African Union) and has repeatedly hosted international summits. Ouagadougou is the seat of UEMOA and CILSS.

Diplomatic relations

The reliance on France, good relations with western donor countries of the EU and loyalty to the IMF and World Bank are the foundation of foreign policy.

For France and the USA, Burkina Faso became an ally in the fight against Islamist terror. Both countries maintain military bases in Ouagadougou or in the north near the border with Mali.

Burkina Faso maintains special relations with Taiwan and, until 2011, with Libya. Diplomatic relations were recently established with Japan, Brazil, South Africa, Australia and Kazakhstan, among others.

Mediator role in conflicts in the region

After numerous allegations that Burkina Faso would support civil wars and coup attempts in neighboring countries (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Mauritania) and trade in bloody diamonds from Angola, Blaise Compaoré has entered the international arena as a mediator of conflicts in recent years. In Togo in 2006 he was chosen to mediate in the protracted conflict between the government and the opposition. Since October 2009, the Burkinabe president has also mediated between the conflicting parties in Guinea, West Africa. He has been a main mediator in the conflict since 2012. As part of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), Burkina Faso became increasingly involved as a mediator in conflicts in Sierra Leone, Ethiopia-Eritrea, Chad, Comoros, and the Tuareg issue in Mali and Niger.

After the fall of Compaoré, Burkina Faso largely renounced regional mediating roles.

Ivory Coast

From 2002 to 2011, the civil war in neighboring Ivory Coast was the biggest foreign policy issue. The Ivory Coast government had for years accused the Burkinabe government of supporting the rebellion in the north. In the south of the Ivory Coast there were violent attacks against Burkinabe citizens, which resulted in mass exodus. Eventually, President Blaise Compaoré was made amicable by Ivorian President Laurent Gbagbo and the rebel leader Guillaume Soro was selected as mediator for the pacification of the country of Ivory Coast. Blaise Compaoré was convincing in his mediating role, but also defended the vital interests of Burkina Faso, as the well-being of more than 3,000,000 Burkinabe in Ivory Coast and access to the port of Abidjan were at stake. On March 4, 2007, the conflicting parties signed the Ouagadougou Treaty (Accord de Ouagadougou), which included reunification, new presidential elections, disarmament and democratization. Relations with the Ivory Coast have normalized with the presidency of Alassane Dramane Ouattara (ADO) and his Prime Minister Guillaume Soro.

Libya

The majority of Gaddafi’s death on October 20, 2011 was received with dismay in Burkina Faso, as he was considered the closest friend of Blaise Compaoré. In Burkina Faso, Gaddafi was seen as a pan-African fighter in whom all threads, militarily, financially and politically, came together, and as a great benefactor of the Burkinabe people. An important diplomatic axis broke off. Blaise Compaoré adapted to the international weather situation in good time and knew the Libyan interim government without hesitation.

Mali

The actions of the Islamist rebel groups Ansar Dine (Defenders of the Faith) and MUJAO (Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa) in northern Mali have caused horror and fear in Burkina Faso.

On January 11, 2013, French air strikes began against positions of the Islamist administration in northern Mali. French special forces had been on standby in Burkina Faso on the Mali border for months.

One day later, the Burkinabe foreign minister announced that 500 Burkinabe soldiers would support the Malian army in the fight for the country’s “territorial integrity” as part of the MISMA African reaction force.

Burkina Faso’s role as mediator in the conflict on Mali

On March 27, 2012, the CEDEAO appointed Blaise Compaoré to mediate between the military junta that had staged a coup in Mali five days earlier and the Tuareg rebels. The then Burkinabe Foreign Minister Djibrill Bassolé was able, on behalf of the CEDEAO, to agree a framework agreement with the junta chief Amadou Sanogo to transfer power to a civil transitional government and to hold elections. Dioncounda Traoré became interim president on April 12, 2012. In June 2013 an agreement was reached in Ouagadougou between the Malian interim government and the Tuareg rebels of the MNLA (National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad). It provided for an immediate ceasefire and the stationing of West African reaction forces.

Germany

For Burkina Faso, Germany is one of the largest bilateral donor countries and one of the most important partners in development cooperation.

The state visits by German Federal Presidents to Burkina Faso had to be canceled by the German side in 2010 and 2012 due to the latter’s premature resignations. On June 14th, 2012 Blaise Compaoré met with Federal President Gauck and on June 15th. with Federal Minister Niebel in Berlin. In August 2012, Minister Niebel visited Ouagadougou.

In the German Bundestag following the overthrow of the Compaoré system on November 24, 2014, the DIE LINKE parliamentary group asked about the government’s relationship with the undemocratic behavior of the semi-authoritarian Compaoré government, in particular the impunity and involvement of the regime in political murders, regional wars and diamond trade.

Former Minister of Education Odile Bonkoungou had been ambassador in Berlin since the beginning of 2012, but was recalled by the Burkinabe government in 2015. Simplice Honoré GUIBILA was appointed as the new Burkinabe ambassador in Berlin and accredited on November 10, 2015.

On February 21, 2017, the President of Burkina Faso Roch Kabore came to Berlin on a state visit. Chancellor Angela Merkel assured him support in the fight against terrorism in Burkina Faso.

Burkina Faso Foreign Policy