Macron Recalls French Ambassador and Announces Troop Withdrawal from Niger
President Emmanuel Macron has declared that France will end its military presence in Niger and recall its ambassador from the country following a coup that removed the democratically elected president.
This announcement was reported by Associated Press.
In response, Niger's junta stated that this declaration signifies a "new step towards sovereignty" for the country.
"Imperialist and neocolonial forces are no longer welcome on our national territory. A new era of cooperation, based on mutual respect and sovereignty, has already begun," reads a statement from Niger's new authorities.
Since the coup in July, France had maintained approximately 1,500 military personnel in Niger and repeatedly defied orders from the new junta to withdraw its ambassador, arguing that France does not recognize the coup leaders as legitimate.
Ali Sekou Ramadan, an aide to ousted Niger President Mohamed Bazoum, reported that Bazoum had requested Macron to recall France's ambassador, "to reduce tension."
Macron, in turn, stated that he spoke with Bazoum on Sunday and informed him that the ambassador and several diplomats would return to France in the near future.
The French president also announced that French troops would be gradually withdrawn from Niger, possibly by the end of the year, in coordination with the coup leaders, "to ensure a peaceful transition."
Insa Garba Saidou, a local activist who assists Niger's new military rulers in their communications, said that she would continue to monitor developments until the French ambassador departs the country. She also demands a clear timeline for the withdrawal of French troops.
"The statement by the French president signifies a victory for the people of Niger. However, we will view this with great caution, as I no longer trust Mr. Macron," Saidou remarked.
On Friday in New York, Niger's military government accused UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of obstructing the country's full participation in the annual meeting of world leaders at the UN.
As previously reported by The Gaze, soldiers in the West African country declared a coup on national television at the end of July. They announced the cancellation of the constitution, the suspension of all institutions, and the closure of the country's borders.
In a televised address, the general representing the military called on heads of ministries to continue performing their duties and urged foreign partners not to interfere.