While he left the possibility of taking control in the near future, French President Emmanuel Macron was obliged to announce the end of the French military presence in Niger by the end of 2023.
It was this Sunday, September 24, 2023 that French President Emmanuel Macron made this outing which had been expected since the overthrow of the Bazoum regime in July 2023. “We are ending our military cooperation with the de facto authorities of Niger because they no longer want to fight terrorism,” Macron said of the military rulers who took control of the Sahel country.
France has not recognized Niger’s military authorities and insists that President Mohamed Bazoum, ousted in the coup, remains the country’s only legitimate authority. The decision to end the ” cooperation “ is taken “because we are not here to play internal politics and be hostages of the putschists”, declared Macron. The withdrawal will be organized in the coming weeks, he said.
“They will return in an orderly manner in the weeks and months to come, and for this we will coordinate with the putschists because we want it to happen peacefully”, declared Macron. The military in Niger said it welcomed France’s decision to withdraw its troops from the country, according to a statement released by Niger state television, Tele Sahel.
“This Sunday, we celebrate a new step towards the sovereignty of Niger. French troops and the French ambassador will leave Niger by the end of the year »indicates the press release. “Imperialist and neocolonialist forces are no longer welcome on our national territory”.
“Any person, institution or structure whose presence threatens the interests and prospects of our country will have to leave the land of our ancestors, whether they like it or not,” adds the press release. “Our resistance will be unwavering and we will confront any institution or structure that attempts to challenge the best interests of our nation.”
France had stationed military troops in the country, many of whom were there to take part in counter-terrorism missions, on the grounds that Niger was a relatively stable democracy in a region plagued by political upheaval, terrorism and insurgencies. Islamists,
1,500 soldiers on site
Responding to a question about the timetable for the withdrawal, Macron said there would be no more French troops in Niger by the end of 2023. Earlier this month, two US officials also said the United States United could begin withdrawing its troops from Niger in the coming weeks. Up to half of the approximately 1,100 U.S. troops stationed in Niger could be withdrawn from the country, the two officials said.
Return of the French ambassador
The French president also declared that he had decided to bring back to France his country’s ambassador to Niger, Sylvain Itte. “France has decided to bring back its ambassador “, declared Mr. Macron. “In the coming hours, our ambassador and several diplomats will return to France. »
The announcement comes just over a week after Macron said the ambassador was “literally held hostage at the French embassy” and “food delivery was prevented” at the embassy in Niamey, the capital. After the July coup, the military junta ordered Itte to leave the country, then revoked his visa and asked police to deport him.
Emmanuel Macron then began a standoff by claiming not to give in to the injunctions of a regime that he does not recognize, unlike the Bazoum regime that they recognize. Catherine Colonna, France’s foreign minister, said earlier this month that Itte was still working, adding that he would “stay as long as we want” and that the official’s return was a decision by Macron.
His departure was therefore made without Macron really having a choice. Beyond a military presence which allowed France to maintain its hegemony over Niger, the withdrawal of this army will above all mark the end of a takeover of Uranium that France offered itself at a price of monkey in the country considered one of the poorest in Africa.
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