The regime that came to power through a coup in July welcomed the announcement of the withdrawal of French soldiers deployed in the country.
By IM with AFP Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, Prime Minister appointed by the military regime in Niger. © – / AFP Published on 09/25/2023 at 1:48 a.m.
“This Sunday, we celebrate the new step towards the sovereignty of Niger,” greeted the military in power in Niger on Sunday, September 24, in a press release read on national television. The regime established after a coup d’état at the end of July welcomed the announcement by Emmanuel Macron of the upcoming withdrawal of French soldiers deployed in the country and the departure of the French ambassador.
“The French troops as well as the French ambassador will leave Nigerien soil by the end of the year. This is a historic moment which testifies to the determination and will of the Nigerien people,” the press release said.
End of an untenable situation
At the end of a two-month standoff with the Nigerien military regime, President Emmanuel Macron ended up announcing on Sunday the return to Paris of the ambassador in Niamey and the withdrawal of French troops from Niger “by the end of the year “. This withdrawal of 1,500 French soldiers based in Niger, which before the July 26 coup was one of Paris’s last allies in the Sahel, comes after those from Mali and Burkina Faso, where France has already been pushed towards the exit by hostile juntas.
“France has decided to bring back its ambassador. In the coming hours our ambassador with several diplomats will return to France,” declared Emmanuel Macron during a television interview on Sunday evening.
After refusing for several weeks to recall Sylvain Itté, his chief diplomat in Niger, whose departure the regime demanded, Emmanuel Macron ended up putting an end to an untenable situation. The ambassador and his team were in the French embassy, no longer benefiting from diplomatic immunity and liable to expulsion if they left. They also saw their food and water supplies running out.
“Whether they like it or not…”
“Any person, any institution or structure whose presence threatens the interests and projections of our country will have to leave the land of our ancestors whether they like it or not,” the military regime’s press release continues.
France refused to give in to the “injunctions” of the military in power. She continues, as President Macron repeated on Sunday evening, to consider the overthrown president Mohamed Bazoum, detained since the end of July with his wife and son at the presidential residence, as “the only legitimate authority” in the country. But Paris, which was counting on an intervention by ECOWAS (community of West African States) to restore Mohamed Bazoum and constitutional order, had few options left to maintain itself in Niger.
“We are ending our military cooperation with the de facto authorities of Niger, because they no longer want to fight against terrorism,” the French president also announced.
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