Fri. Apr 12th, 2024

After France, Niger breaks its military cooperation with the United States

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After the coup that overthrew elected President Mohamed Bazoum, Washington suspended its cooperation with Niger. (Archive photo)

Agence France-Presse

After the French, the American military could in turn be expelled from Niger. The regime of generals in power in Niamey denounced on Saturday “with immediate effect” the military cooperation agreement signed with the United States in 2012, affirming that the American presence was “illegal”.

Quickly after coming to power during a coup d'état on July 26, 2023, the Niamey regime denounced military cooperation agreements with France and the last French soldiers left Niger at the end of December.

After the coup that overthrew elected President Mohamed Bazoum, Washington suspended its cooperation with Niger.

But the United States counts some 1,100 soldiers engaged in the anti-jihadist fight in the country and have a large drone base in Agadez (north).

In December they said they were ready to resume this cooperation, under conditions.

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Saturday evening, Colonel Amadou Abdramane, spokesperson for the regime, indicated that the Nigerien government, taking into account the aspirations and interests of its people, had decided with all responsibility to denounce with immediate effect the agreement relating to personnel status. United States military personnel and civilian employees of the United States Department of Defense in the territory of Niger.

In a press release, read on national television, Mr. Abdramane specifies that the American military presence is illegal and violates all constitutional and democratic rules.

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According to Niamey, this unfair agreement was imposed unilaterally by the United States, via a simple note verbale, on July 6, 2012.

The move comes after a three-day visit by a US delegation led by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee.

During this three-day visit, Ms. Phee was unable to meet the head of the military regime Abdourahamane Tiani, according to a Nigerien government source.

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General Abdourahmane Tiani is the new strongman of Niger since the coup d'état in the summer of 2023, following those of Mali in 2020 and Burkina Faso in 2022. (Archive photo)

The arrival of the American delegation did not respect diplomatic practices, Mr. Abdramane explained on Saturday, ensuring that the American government had informed Niamey unilaterally of its arrival date and the composition of his delegation.

He also denounced the condescending attitude of Ms. Phee, an attitude likely to undermine the nature of the relationship between the two country, according to him.

Arriving in Niamey on Tuesday, this delegation led by Molly Phee, Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, was initially scheduled to spend two days there, but decided to extend its stay, according to the Nigerien government source.

She was, however, able to meet twice with the prime minister appointed by the military, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine.

Saturday evening, Colonel Abdramane also spoke of the return to constitutional order in this country which has moved closer to its neighbors Burkina and Mali – also governed by the military – but also to countries like #x27;Iran or Russia.

The government of Niger reaffirmed its firm desire to organize as soon as possible the return to normal constitutional life, he declared, assuring that it was a commitment solemn statement of the president of the transition, as expressed in his address to the Nation on August 19.

During this message, General Tiani had then mentioned a transition of three years maximum and that its duration would be fixed by a national dialogue.

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Hundreds of people traveled to Niamey, the capital of Niger, to support their country's withdrawal from ECOWAS, brandishing posters supporting the Alliance of Sahel States (AES).

Since the coup d'état, the Niger notably – like Burkina and Mali – left the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) which had heavily sanctioned it.

At the end of February, ECOWAS decided to lift a large part of these sanctions.

Niger, Burkina and Mali announced the creation of a joint force to fight against jihadists who regularly strike their three countries.

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