Burkina Faso hails ties with USA, eyes for more cooperation with Obama
The relations between Burkina Faso and the United States have reached a remarkable level under George W. Bush’s presidency, according to the bilateral cooperation director in Ouagadougou, Francois Oubida, hoping that the U.S president-elect Barack Obama who is sworn-in Tuesday, will usher in a new cooperation era.
The closer relations between the two countries was marked by Blaise Compaore’s first official visit to Washington on 13-17 July 2008, since he came to power in 1987.
During that historical visit, President Compaore had signed an economic cooperation covenant with the Millennium Challenge Account worth 204 billion CFA francs.
On that occasion, Burkina was approved to benefit from the U.S-adopted African Growth opportunities Act (AGOA) which offers tangible incentives for the importation of African products to the USA.
"Though our relations with the USA precede Bush’s presidency, they have reached a particular level with him and in various fields", Oubida said.
The military cooperation with the USA is also strengthened, he said, adding that 750 Burkina militaries were trained and equipped for peacekeeping operations.
Oubida who served in the Burkina permanent mission to the UN from 2000 to 2007, explains that the Burkina position was close to the U.S one on the international issues, particularly the recognition of Kossovo, the nuclear, terrorism and organised trans-national criminality.
Ouagadougou and Washington however diverge on the UN reform and within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) on the subsidies granted to American cotton farmers.
On this issue, Compaore called for more coherence from his "Northern partners" in their development cooperation policies to abstain from trashing the achievements to which they contributed", speaking at a 2003 meeting of the WTO Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC).
The relations between the two countries have hit a breakthrough during Bush’s eight-year presidency, Oubida stressed, mentioning that before Bush’s regime, Burkina was in the fringe line of the U.S and the UN which pigeonholed it as trouble maker in the West African sub-region, particularly because of Compaore’s support to Charles Taylor.
For Ouagadougou, it was a period of "misunderstandings" which were "quickly ironed out by Burkina's honest people".