The French foreign ministry on Tuesday said it had received a letter from the Burkinabe authorities in December requesting the departure of Frances's ambassador from Burkina Faso - a move the ministry called "not standard practice."
The Burkinabe government has declined to comment officially on reports it sent this request to Paris last month.
In emailed comments, the French ministry's spokeswoman confirmed it had received such a letter, but declined to give further details or say how it had responded.
"We have indeed received a letter from the Burkinabe transitional authorities. This is not standard practice and we have no public comment to make in response," she said.
The whereabouts and status of French Ambassador Luc Hallade could not immediately be confirmed. The embassy in Ouagadougou declined to comment.
The apparent expulsion signals a further deterioration in relations between France and Burkina Faso, a former French colony in West Africa where France maintains strong ties and has special forces stationed.
Protests by opponents of the French military presence have surged there this year, partly linked to perceptions that France has not done enough to tackle an Islamist insurgency that has spread in recent years from neighbouring Mali.
The prolonged insecurity led to political instability and military coups in August 2020 and May 2021 in Mali, and in January 2022 and September 2022 in Burkina Faso.
Angry mobs targeted the French embassy, cultural centre and military base in Burkina Faso on the day of the second coup and on Nov. 18. Demonstrators demanded France leave and called on the interim military authorities to ask Russia for help fighting the insurgents, like in Mali.
In late December, Burkinabe authorities ordered senior U.N. official Barbara Manzi to leave the country, accusing her of painting a negative picture of the security situation.
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