MACRON FOLDS: France Withdraws Diplomatic Presence in Niger – Security Agreement Is Also Over, and French Military Troops to Depart in the Next Few Months
The French influence in Africa is crumbling in front of our eyes. After a long impasse with the Coup junta in Niger, President Emmanuel Macron announced that France is leaving the West African nation, diplomatically and militarily.
Associated Press reported:
“President Emmanuel Macron announced Sunday that France will end its military presence in Niger and pull its ambassador out of the country after its democratically elected president was deposed in a coup.
The announcement is a significant, if predicted, blow to France’s policy in Africa, after French troops pulled out of neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso in recent years after coups there. France had stationed thousands of troops in the region at the request of African leaders to fight jihadist groups.”
France has maintained some 1,500 troops in its former colony of Niger, even though, since the July coup, they had repeatedly refused orders by the new junta for its ambassador to leave.
Macron has expressed that France didn’t recognize the coup leaders as legitimate.
“In an interview with France-2 television, Macron said that he spoke Sunday to ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, and told him that ‘France has decided to bring back its ambassador, and in the coming hours our ambassador and several diplomats will return to France’.
He added, ‘And we will put an end to our military cooperation with the Niger authorities.” He said the troops would be gradually pulled out, likely by the end of the year’.”
He made a point of reminding everyone that France’s military presence in Niger was in response to a request from Niger’s government.
The move deals a tremendous blow to France’s influence in the region, while Macron said France would ‘not be held hostage by the putschists’.
He has time and again argued that he still regarded Bazoum, currently held prisoner by the coup leaders, as the country’s legitimate leader.
“Mr Macron’s statement also comes hours after Niger’s coup leaders banned ‘French aircraft’ from flying over the country.
The regional air safety organization, ASECNA, said that Niger’s airspace was open to all national and international commercial flights except for French aircraft or aircraft chartered by France including those of the airline Air France.
The air space would remain closed for ‘all military, operational and other special flights’, unless receiving prior authorization, the message said.
Air France told the AFP news agency simply that it was ‘not flying over Niger airspace’.”
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