RFI – After suspending visas for artists, France is now doing the same for students from Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, citing the closure of French consular services in the countries as making their delivery impossible.

New visas for students coming from the three countries will not be issued, the foreign ministry told AFP on Saturday, adding that those students, researchers and artists already in France “are welcome”, and will be able to continue their activities and keep their funding.

Campus France, the agency that promotes French higher education abroad and helps foreign students in France said that scholarships awarded to students from the three countries who are already in France will “stay active”.

France’s research and higher education minister said that visa services would be suspended for security reasons, but that existing cooperation with universities and other scientific establishments would not be interrupted.

Some 6,700 students are currently in France, including 3,000 from Mali, 2,500 from Burkina Faso and 1,200 from Niger.

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