Niger bans French aircraft from flying over African nation’s airspace
Niger's military government has banned French aircraft from flying over the West African country's airspace.
“Niger's airspace is open to all national and international commercial flights except for French aircraft or aircraft chartered by France including those of the airline Air France," it said in a statement dated late Saturday.
“The air space would remain closed for all military, operational and other special flights, unless receiving prior authorization,” the statement added.
Niger's military ousted pro-Western former president, Mohamed Bazoum, in a coup on July 26. Since then, relations have been deteriorating between Paris and Niamey due to the former's refusal to recognize Niger's new rulers and its support for the ousted president.
The coup against Bazoum was the third of its kind in the West Africa region in as many years, following similar military actions in Mali and Burkina Faso in 2021 and 2022, which also forced the pullouts of French troops.
During his Sunday interview, Macron reaffirmed France's position that Bazoum remained the "sole legitimate authority" in the West African country, claiming that "he was targeted by this coup d'etat because he was carrying out courageous reforms."
Last month, Niger's military leaders declared French ambassador Sylvain Itte persona non grata and revoked his diplomatic immunity.
Source: News agencies