Niger-French Ambassador Row: Paris Questions Junta Legitimacy

The Nigerien Ministry of Foreign Affairs has announced that it has decided to withdraw the approval of the French ambassador in Niamey, Sylvain Itté, who should leave Niger within 48 hours. The same measure has also been extended to the German ambassador.

The decision was taken following actions by Paris contrary to the interests of Niger, according to a press release from the ministry. According to the Al Hadath television channel, the ambassador had not reacted to a summons to the Foreign Ministry controlled by the military in power in the country since July 26. In Paris, the decision of Niamey is rejected as “illegal”. What further complicate the situation in Niger where the French troops still stationed in the country had to empty the premises.

It should be recalled that the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso and Mali went to Niamey to reiterate their solidarity with the people of Niger in the face of the sanctions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA). For his part, the number two in Algerian diplomacy called for favoring “negotiation” while ECOWAS is considering military intervention in Niger where a coup took place on July 26. Several visits took place in Niamey last Thursday. Visits from the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Burkina Faso and Mali, but also from the number two in Algerian diplomacy.

The two Malian and Burkinabè ministers, Abdoulaye Diop and Olivia Ragnaghnewendé Rouamba, were joined on Thursday by the Foreign Minister appointed by the putschists, Bakary Yaou Sangaré.

Burkina Faso and Mali have repeated their solidarity in the face of the sanctions of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (UEMOA) described as illegal, illegitimate and inhuman. Sanctions, they said, which are in violation of the texts of these institutions. The three parties affirmed the need to strengthen cooperation on the political, economic, scientific and cultural levels and agreed to hold tripartite cooperation commissions.

In terms of security, two things should be noted: first, a strong desire to pool resources in the fight against terrorism, then the announcement of the signing of two orders by General Abdourahamane Tiani, head of the Nigerien junta. Two texts which authorize the defense and security forces of Burkina Faso and Mali to intervene in Nigerien territory in the event of aggression, implied in the event of a military operation by ECOWAS. According to Niger National Radio, Lounès Magramane, number two in Algerian diplomacy, called for favoring “negotiation”, indicating that “an intervention in Niger will have naturally disastrous consequences, not only on Niger but also on all the countries of the region “.

It should be noted that the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria met Friday in Cotonou his counterpart from Benin Olushegun Bakari for more than an hour. Ahmed Attaf is on tour in the region to convince ECOWAS member countries to renounce military intervention and to favor “the political solution”.

The junta has meanwhile appointed 41 new prefects, to better take charge, she says, of defense and security issues in localities confronted with armed banditry and terrorism. For the first time in Niger, all are soldiers. The country has 63 prefectures and eight regions.

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