French President Emmanuel Macron said in a television interview that France will withdraw all its forces from Niger in the coming months. The West African country’s ambassador was also summoned.
The French President said on Sunday evening, “France has decided to recall its ambassador and end military cooperation with Niger.” A coup took place in Niger at the end of last July, and relations with France have been tense since then. The former colonizer is still active with his forces in Niger. These forces are mainly stationed to fight Islamist rebels in the Sahel region.
The military junta currently ruling Niger blames France for the unrest taking place in the country. Earlier, the coup plotters ordered the French ambassador to leave the country. France has about one thousand five hundred soldiers stationed in Niger, but the new military government in the country has ended military cooperation treaties with France.
This decision further reduces France’s influence in the region. It is also a blow to counter-terrorism operations. Until the coup, Niger was a major security partner for France and the United States, which used the country as a base against Islamist insurgency in the region. French forces have previously been forced to leave Mali and Burkina Faso, including after coups.
Earlier today, the military junta closed Niger’s airspace to all French aircraft. This means that not only military aircraft, but also Air France commercial flights, are no longer allowed to fly over Niger.
Macron wants to return the first troops “in the coming weeks.” He added that the full withdrawal should be completed by the end of the year.
Anti-Frankrijk sentiment in Niger neemt toe sinds de staatsgreep
Nigerese junta geeft Franse ambassadeur 48 uur om het land te verlaten
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