“Exchanges” are underway between the Nigerien and French armies to “facilitate the movements of French military resources” present in Niger, the entourage of the French Minister of Defense, Sebastien Lecornu, confirmed on Tuesday. The generals, who took power and dismissed President Mohamed Bazoum, demand the departure of the tricolor soldiers
Paris-Niamey dialogue on the subject of French soldiers in Niger. “Exchanges” are underway between the two armies to “facilitate the movements of French military resources” present in the country, confirmed Tuesday, September 5, the entourage of the French Minister of Defense, Sebastien Lecornu.
“Functional coordination exchanges exist locally between the military to facilitate the movements of French military assets immobilized since the suspension of anti-terrorist cooperation” after the coup d’etat at the end of July, indicated the minister’s entourage, without specifying the nature of these “movements”, their scale or their course, and without mentioning “withdrawal”.
On Monday, the Nigerien Prime Minister appointed by the military in power, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, affirmed that “exchanges” were taking place to obtain a departure of French soldiers. The “exchanges that are underway should allow their withdrawal very quickly,” he declared during a press conference.
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Some 1,500 French soldiers deployed in Niger
On August 3, the generals who took power in Niger through a coup d’etat denounced several military cooperation agreements with Paris, including 1,500 soldiers deployed in the country to support the anti-jihadist fight. One of these texts contained a month’s notice which therefore expired on Sunday, according to them.
Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, however, assured that his government hoped “if possible to maintain cooperation with a country with which we have shared a lot of things.”
France, a former colonial power, regularly reaffirms that it does not recognize the new authorities in Niamey and is currently maintaining its ambassador and its soldiers in Niger, despite the injunctions of the new authorities having dismissed President Mohamed Bazoum.
France is present on a planned air enclave in Niamey located within a Nigerien military base, and on two advanced posts alongside the Nigeriens in the Three Borders area between Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali, reputed to serve as a refuge for jihadists from the Islamic State organization.
Source: France 24