Niger pursues swift withdrawal of French troops

2023-09-05 08:31:00
Niger pursues swift withdrawal of French troops

Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine said at a press conference on Monday that continued contacts should allow a very rapid withdrawal of French troops from the West African country, where about 1,500 French troops are stationed.

However, the prime minister said that Niger wants to continue to work with a country with which we have shared a huge number of issues.

Relations between Niamey and Paris have seriously deteriorated since July 26, a military group overthrew the government of the pro-Western ex-president of Nigeria, Mohamed Bazoum.

On August 3, the new rulers of Niger announced the end of military agreements with France. Since then, Nigerians have held daily demonstrations in front of a military base in the capital where French troops are stationed, threatening to attack the facility if the French troops refuse to leave.

The prime minister announced that as a result of the withdrawal of those agreements, French troops in Niger are now in in a position of unlawfulness.

Nigeria's military leaders also expelled French ambassador Sylvain Itte in late August after revoking his diplomatic immunity. They gave Itte 48 hours to leave, saying his presence threatened public order and accused France of interfering in the country's internal affairs.

Referring to the meeting with the French ambassador, Zeine said the ambassador showed a "contemptuous attitude" by refusing to meet with Niger's new authorities on the 25th. August.

Niger hopes for an agreement with ECOWAS

Niger's new prime minister also said his country hopes to reach an agreement with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has threatened to invade Niger militarily to return Bazoum and imposed sanctions on the country.

We have not severed our contacts with ECOWAS, but we will continue our contacts. We have good hope of reaching an agreement in the coming days, said Zeine.

Although Niamey has not ruled out dialogue with the West African bloc, it has warned that it is ready to defend itself in the event of any military intervention.

Referring to ECOWAS' military threats, the prime minister said that we are bracing to be attacked at any time. Every preparation has been taken. It would be an unjust war. We are determined to defend ourselves if there is an attack.

Error! Error occured!