Macron says France will withdraw its ambassador and forces from Niger after the coup

This announcement is a huge blow, if expected FrancePolitics in AfricaAfter the withdrawal of French forces from the surrounding area Financial And Burkina Faso In recent years after the coups there. France deployed thousands of soldiers in the region the coast The region at the request of African leaders to fight jihadist groups.

France has maintained about 1,500 soldiers in Niger since the July coup, and has repeatedly rejected the new military junta’s order to leave its ambassador, saying France did not recognize the legitimacy of the coup leaders.

Tensions between France and Niger, a former French colony, have escalated in recent weeks, and Macron recently said diplomats were living on military rations while holed up in the embassy.

Macron said, in an interview with France 2 television, that he spoke on Sunday with ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, and told him that “France has decided to return its ambassador, and in the coming hours our ambassador and a number of diplomats will return to France.” “

He added: “We will end our military cooperation with the Nigerien authorities because they no longer want to fight terrorism anymore.”

He added that the forces will be withdrawn gradually, most likely by the end of the year, in coordination with the coup leaders, “because we want this to happen peacefully.”

He said that the French military presence came in response to a request from the Nigerien government at that time. But military cooperation between France and Niger has stopped since the coup. Junta leaders claimed that Bazoum’s government did not do enough to protect the country from the rebellion.

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The military junta is now subject to sanctions by Western and African regional powers.

In August, the military junta gave French Ambassador Sylvain Etty 48 hours to leave. After the deadline expired without France summoning him, the coup leaders then lifted his diplomatic immunity.

In New York, the military government that seized power in Niger on Friday accused UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of “obstructing” the West African country’s full participation in the annual UN meeting of world leaders in order to appease France and its allies.

Experts say that after repeated military interventions in its former colonies in recent decades, France’s era as Africa’s “gendarmerie” may finally be over, as the continent’s priorities shift.

Andrew Leibovich, a research fellow at the Clingendael Institute, a think tank, said the decision represented an acceptance of “the harsh reality for France in the region and perhaps places some limits on the US deployment in Niger, although as we have seen the United States and France have not followed exactly the same positions.” In Niger.

Niger will feel the loss of French support in its fight against violent extremist organizations, said Reda Liamori, a senior fellow at the New South Policy Center, a Morocco-based think tank.

“France has been a reliable partner providing support to its operations, and Niger simply has no alternative to fill this void left by the French, at least in the short and medium term,” Liamori said.

Macron last year withdrew French troops from Mali following tensions with the ruling junta following a 2020 coup, and more recently from Burkina Faso, for similar reasons. The two African countries requested the departure of French forces.

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France also suspended its military operations with the Central African Republic, accusing its government of failing to stop a “massive” anti-France disinformation campaign.


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