France will pull its ambassador and remaining troops out of Niger in the wake of the July military-backed coup d’etat in the country, President Emmanuel Macron has confirmed.
Paris had originally refused to withdraw its officials and armed forces from the country despite Niger’s new de facto government demanding it do so.
Macron appears to have now thrown in the towel on the issue, announcing during a televised interview on September 24 that the French Ambassador to Niger will leave the West African country in the “next few days”.
🇫🇷🇳🇪 💬«La #France a décidé de ramener son ambassadeur…Nous mettons fin à notre coopération militaire avec les autorités de fait du #Niger, car elles ne veulent plus lutter contre le #terrorisme», a annoncé ce dimanche soir Emmanuel #Macron dans un entretien conjoint à #TF1 et… pic.twitter.com/CsH3WD42Ot
— RFI (@RFI) September 25, 2023
“France has decided to bring back its ambassador,” he said.
Its armed forces will quickly follow the official, with Macron saying that every one of France’s 1,500 troops there will have left Niger “by the end of the year”.
Having ordered the expulsion of both the French Ambassador and armed forces earlier this year, Niger’s military government has celebrated Macron’s announcement as a victory.
“This Sunday, we celebrate the new step towards the sovereignty of Niger,” said a press release issued by the junta government.
“French troops and the French Ambassador will leave Nigerien soil by the end of the year. This is a historic moment which testifies to the determination and will of the Nigerien people.”
French officials have announced that France will no longer send development aid to Burkina Faso after the West African country backed the ongoing military coup in Niger. https://t.co/9SEBjMakC1
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 7, 2023
The withdrawal appears to be another sign of France’s waning influence in Africa. The country has largely been pushed out of the continent by a combination of local dissatisfaction and Russian meddling over the past 12 months.
Attempts to combat the coup in Niger have failed to yield results, with a promised military intervention by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) having so far not materialised.
The French-speaking country’s dictatorial allies have been keen to support its nascent junta government, with Mali promising to defend Niger in the event of any invasion.
“Mali remains strongly opposed to any military intervention by ECOWAS,” its foreign minister Abdoulaye Diop told the UN General Assembly in New York on September 23.
“Any invasion of this country [Niger] constitutes a direct threat to the peace and security of Mali, but also to the peace and security of the region and will necessarily have serious consequences.”
The European Union plans to implement sanctions against Niger and its military government following the armed coup in the country. https://t.co/NcDhDbcsTZ
— Brussels Signal (@brusselssignal) August 31, 2023