Paris refuses junta’s demand to withdraw ambassador from Niger amid anti-France rallies

Paris refuses junta’s demand to withdraw ambassador from Niger amid anti-France rallies

Thousands of Nigeriens gathered over the weekend in the capital Niamey and near France’s largest military base, demonstrating against French interference in their country’s internal affairs, as Paris rejected the junta’s demand for the French ambassador to leave the country.

Tens of thousands of people rallied Niamey Saturday (26 August) in support of last month’s coup, a day after the country’s new military rulers gave France’s ambassador to Niger, Sylvain Itte, 48 hours to leave the country, claiming he refused to meet with the new rulers and citing French government actions that were “contrary to the interests of Niger”. Hundreds of protesters also gathered Sunday (27 August) near a French military base in Niamey to demand the withdrawal of French troops from the West African country. The demonstrators also chanted slogans against the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has decreed economic sanctions against Niger and has threatened military action to restore constitutional order.

Paris has since rejected the demand by Niger’s junta, saying that “the putschists do not have the authority to make this request, the ambassador’s approval coming solely from the legitimate elected Nigerien authorities.” The military junta said recently that it had revoked several military accords the West African country signed with France, a move Paris dismissed and said the military leaders have no legitimate authority to do so.

In response to the French refusal to withdraw its ambassador, Niger’s military administration has cut off water and electricity to the French Embassy in Niamey and French consulate in Zinder, with no food deliveries allowed, multiple reports on social media said Sunday.

Share This