France to withdraw envoy, end military cooperation with Niger amid coup: Macron

Paris: French President Emmanuel Macron has announced his decision to withdraw the country’s ambassador and end all military cooperation with Niger amid a coup in the West African nation.

In a statement on Sunday, the President said: “France has decided to withdraw its ambassador. In the next hours our ambassador and several diplomats will return to France.”

He added that military co-operation was “over” and French troops would leave in “the months to come”, the BBC reported.

The military junta seized power in Niger in July.

It is one of several former French colonies in West Africa where the military has recently seized control, following Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali and Chad.Last month, a coup was staged in Gabon.

Currently, there are about 1,500 French soldiers in the landlocked West African country.

In his statement, Macron went on to say that he still regarded ousted Niger President Mohamed Bazoum, currently held prisoner by the coup leaders, as the country’s “sole legitimate authority” and had informed him of his decision.

He described the deposed president as a “hostage”.

“He was targeted by this coup d’etat because he was carrying out courageous reforms and because there was a largely ethnic settling of scores and a lot of political cowardice,” the BBC quoted Macron as saying.

Meanwhile, the military junta in Niger welcomed Macron’s decision, saying it was “a new step towards the sovereignty of Niger”.


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