09-24-2023, 6:07 PM

Macron announces end of French military presence in Niger, ambassador removal after coup

After the coup that overthrew the democratically elected president, President Emmanuel Macron declared Sunday that France would withdraw its ambassador and military from Niger.

In reaction, Niger's junta called the statement a “new step towards the sovereignty” of the country.

Imperialist and neocolonialist forces are no longer acceptable in our country. It stated that a new age of collaboration based on mutual respect and sovereignty has begun.

After coups in Mali and Burkina Faso, French forces had to leave the countries, which was a major setback to France's African policy. African countries asked France to post hundreds of troops in the Sahel to battle Islamic extremists.

France has retained 1,500 troops in Niger since the July coup and repeatedly defied the new junta's call for its ambassador to withdraw, saying it didn't recognize the coup leaders.

at recent weeks, tensions between France and Niger, a former French colony, had grown, and Macron said French diplomats were living on military rations at the embassy.

Macron's announcement followed the coup leaders' statement on Sunday, barring Niger's airspace to French flights for the new authority to regain control of its skies and territory. The judgment excluded other international aircraft.

According to Macron, he told Bazoum on Sunday that “France has decided to bring back its ambassador, and in the coming hours our ambassador and several diplomats will return to France.”

He said, “And we will put an end to our military cooperation with the Niger authorities because they don’t want to fight terrorism anymore.”

He stated the troops would be gradually taken out by the end of the year in collaboration with coup leaders in order to do so peacefully.

In August, the junta gave the French ambassador 48 hours to leave. After France failed to recall him, the coup leaders stripped his diplomatic immunity.

After numerous military operations in its former colonies in recent decades, France may no longer be Africa's “gendarme” as the continent's priorities alter, experts warn.

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