French Ambassador Departs from Niger Republic - The Top Society

French Ambassador Departs from Niger Republic

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The French ambassador to Niger Republic, Sylvain Itte, departed from Niamey, Niger’s capital, early Wednesday morning.

The ambassador left following weeks of strained relations between France and the post-coup government in Niger.

“The ambassador and six colleagues left Niamey around 4:00 a.m.” a different person person source from the French embassy said on Wednesday. A source in the Niger interior ministry also confirmed the departure and said the plane was headed towards Chad.

Itte’s departure comes two months after the July 26 coup in Niger ousted its pro-Paris president, Mohamed Bazoum, creating sour relations between Niger and France.

On Sunday, the French President, Emmanuel Macron, announced in a TV interview that France’s ambassador to Niger, Itte, would leave “in the next hours” but did not give details of his departure.

Ambassador

The military junta of Niger who staged a coup on July 26 and ousted the democratically elected President, Bazoum, had given their approval of the announcement but emphasized their need for official actions to follow.

The military junta had earlier told the French ambassador to leave the country after they overthrew Bazoum and took away the envoy’s diplomatic immunity and visa. The French government, however, refused to comply or recognise the military regime as the 48-hour ultimatum given to the ambassador elapsed. France had said that only Bazoum’s deposed government could order the envoy, who has been  in the post of ambassador to Niger for a year, out.

Macron also announced in his Sunday TV interview that French troops would withdraw from Niger in months and weeks to come and that the troops will fully pull out by the end of the year, granting another demand of the Niger regime.

The French President, who had sought to make a special ally of Niger, said military cooperation was over.

France maintains approximately 1,500 soldiers in its former West African colony as part of an anti-jihadist mission in the Sahel.

The coup against President Bazoum marked the third such overthrow in the region within three years, mirroring similar incidents in fellow former French colonies Mali in 2021 and Burkina Faso in 2022, both of which also resulted in the withdrawal of French troops.

Macron said on Sunday that Niger’s post-coup authorities no longer wanted to fight against terrorism. He reaffirmed France’s position that Bazoum was being held hostage and remained the only legitimate authority in the country.

Bazoum has remained confined in the presidential palace with his wife and son since the coup in July.

Niger received Macron’s announcement on Sunday as a new step towards sovereignty. The military junta, however, said the timeframe for the pullout must be set through a negotiated framework and by mutual agreement.

In recent weeks, tens of thousands of people have joined demonstrations and gatherings in Niamey, Niger’s capital to demand  for the withdrawal of French troops from the country.

The United States, with approximately 1,100 military personnel stationed in Niger, has indicated that it will assess its next course of action in response to France’s announcement regarding the crisis.

Don’t miss out on: Niger Coup: Military Junta Reopens Airspace

 

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