Friday, June 14, 2024
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Home » Niger’s Junta Suspends Military Agreements With France

Niger’s Junta Suspends Military Agreements With France

by Denis Galvez

Niger’s junta announced on Thursday the suspension of various military cooperation agreements with France, the former colonial power that has condemned violence in the West African country and begun evacuating its citizens.

The National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP), the governing body established by the military in Niger after a coup on July 26, issued a statement, saying it revoked five agreements signed by the two countries between 1997 and 2020 because of “France’s casual attitude and reaction to the internal situation” in Niger.

France has a deployment of approximately 1,500 soldiers in Niger, and some 1,200 registered French nationals are living in the country.

The Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France said Wednesday that over 350 French citizens had been evacuated from Niger, and more than 510 people were on the evacuation flights.

Niger’s military forces said last week that soldiers in the country had overthrown President Mohamed Bazoum, hours after the president was allegedly held hostage. Abdourahamane Tchiani, former leader of Niger’s presidential guard, was named president of the CNSP and he suspended the Constitution and dissolved the government, empowering the council to exercise all legislative and executive authorities.

Bazoum on Thursday asked the international community for help, while the CNSP has refused to hand back power and threatened to meet force with force.

In a column in The Washington Post, Bazoum said the coup, launched against his government by a faction in the military, has no justification, and if it succeeds, “it will have devastating consequences for our country, our region and the entire world.”

The coup has drawn condemnations from international and regional organizations, some of which, for example, the Economic Community of West African States, have imposed sanctions on the junta and threatened to restore order in Niger by force.

The office of the French president said France supports all regional initiatives aimed at restoring constitutional order and the return of Bazoum.

Also on Thursday, the CNSP decided to halt the operation of France 24 and Radio France Internationale, both France’s state-owned international media outlets, in Niger. Tchiani also signed a decree to end the mandates of Niger’s ambassadors to four countries, namely France, the United States, Nigeria and Togo. 

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