France will end its military presence in Niger and pull its ambassador, Macron says

France’s President Emmanuel Macron has announced the end of France’s military presence and the pulling-out of its ambassador from Niger, a reaction to the recent coup overthrowing Niger’s democratically elected leader.

Announcement details: Macron declared on Sunday that France will withdraw its ambassador and conclude its military activities in Niger.
* The French president communicated with the ousted Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum and informed him of the decision.
* The removal of the ambassador and some diplomats will take place promptly. The military pull-out will be gradual and is likely to be completed by the end of the year.

Background: This development marks a significant change to France’s policy in Africa.
* France had stationed thousands of troops in Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso at the request of local leaders to combat jihadist groups.
* However, following coups in Mali and Burkina Faso, France had already withdrawn its troops.
* The current troop strength in Niger is around 1,500, and French diplomats have been based in the embassy under tense circumstances.

Recent events: Relations between France and Niger, which was a former French colony, have been strained due to the coup.
* The military cooperation between France and Niger was suspended after the coup.
* Despite orders from the new junta for the French ambassador to leave, France refused, not recognizing the coup leaders’ authority.
* The junta revoked the French Ambassador Sylvain Itte’s diplomatic immunity after France failed to recall him within a 48-hour deadline.
* The junta is currently under sanctions by Western and regional African powers, and also claimed obstruction from U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to Niger’s full participation at a recent U.N. meeting.

View original article on NPR

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