France announced the upcoming withdrawal of its ambassador and its military from Niger

05/23/2022 Archive image of Nigerien soldiers. INTERNATIONAL POLITICS Michael Kappeler/dpa (Michael Kappeler/dpa/)

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, announced this Sunday the upcoming withdrawal of his ambassador and his military deployed in Niger, where the relationship is tense with the current power that emerged from a military coup in July.

“France has decided to bring back its ambassador” and “we are ending our military cooperation with Niger,” Macron announced during an interview, nine days after accusing Niamey of holding the diplomat “hostage.”

Relations between Paris and Niamey are tense. France considers the overthrown Mohamed Bazoum, captive of the military junta, as legitimate president and until now has rejected the demands of the coup plotters.

In addition to demanding the departure of the ambassador, declared as “persona non grata”, Niamey had denounced the military agreements with France, which has 1,500 soldiers deployed in an anti-jihadist fight device.

These soldiers will leave “in the coming weeks and months” and the withdrawal will be completed “before the end of the year,” added the French president, during the interview on TF1 and France 2 television.

Before the July 26 coup, this West African country and former French colony was one of its last allies in the Sahel.

In one of its latest decisions, the military regime in Niger closed its airspace to French planes, according to a message consulted on Sunday on the site of the African aviation safety agency Asecna.

News in development…