Burkina Faso breaks diplomatic ties with Taiwan

Taiwan Published: May 24, 2018, 05:59 PM(IST)

Police say the latest threat to Burkina Faso's fragile security was aimed to destabilise the republic. Photograph:( AFP )

The Sahel state of Burkina Faso announced Thursday that it was breaking diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

"The Burkina government decided today to break off its diplomatic relationship with Taiwan," Foreign Minister Alpha Barry said, in an announcement that follows a string of similar moves by African states since 2000.

"Since 1994, Burkina Faso has had cooperation relations with Taiwan," Barry said in a statement.

"But today, changes in the world, the current socio-economic challenges facing our country and our region call on us to reconsider our position."

The foreign minister did not mention whether Burkina Faso would switch diplomatic ties to China.

China considers Taiwan to be a renegade province.

The two have been engaged for years in a diplomatic tug-of-war in developing countries. Economic support and other aid are often used as bargaining chips for diplomatic recognition.

China has notched up a string of successes south of the Sahara, where it has gained a high profile in infrastructure projects, especially in transport.

"President Roch Marc Kabore has instructed me... to take all necessary steps to close our embassy in Taipei and Taiwan's (embassy) in our country," Barry said.

"This decision is guided by the firm will to defend the interests of Burkina and its people in the community of nations, and to develop better partnerships in order to strengthen our country's socio-economic progress."

A landlocked country of 18 million people on the southern rim of the Sahara, Burkina Faso is one of the poorest nations of the world.

It ranked 185th out of 188 states in the UN's Human Development Index for 2016.

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