Algeria rejects French request to use airspace for military campaign in Niger
Algeria has turned down a request by France to use its airspace to conduct a military operation in crisis-hit Niger, whose pro-West president was toppled through a military coup last month.
Algerian state radio broadcast the news late Monday, stressing that the country was opposed to any foreign military action in Niger and favors diplomacy to restore constitutional order in the landlocked Sahel state, where France keeps some 15,000 troops.
Niger was engulfed in political chaos on July 26, when its democratically-elected President Mohamed Bazoum was toppled by a military coup, triggering worldwide condemnation as well as trade sanctions by Niger's neighbors. Niger lies south of the Algerian border.
Algerian state radio, which usually reflects official thinking, did not give any details of the so-called French operation in its southern neighbor.
This is while Paris has not said it would intervene militarily to overturn the military takeover and restore order in Niger.
On Tuesday, the French Army responded to the news by Algerian state radio, denying that it had asked Algeria to use its airspace for a military operation in Niger.
"France's joint defense staff denies making a request to fly over Algerian territory" Reuters quoted a source in the French Army as saying.
French forces have been kicked out of Mali and Burkina Faso, and anti-French sentiment has increased on the streets of Niamey, the Nigerien capital, since the coup.