France is defiant after Niger ordered French ambassador to leave the country

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French President Emmanuel Macron said, on Monday, that his country’s ambassador to Niger will remain despite the pressure of the putschists, and stressed the need not to replace the political solution with the military one.

On August 25, the Nigerien Ministry of Foreign Affairs gave the French ambassador, Sylvain Itte, 48 hours to leave the country, which Paris refused, saying, “The putschists have no capacity to make such a decision”.

Macron said in his speech to the annual conference of his country’s ambassadors, “Our ambassador will remain in Niamey despite the pressure of the putschists, and we will continue our firm policy of not recognizing them”.

Macron stressed the legitimacy of the elected president, Muhammad Bazoum, saying that “France won’t abandon him and won’t recognize the coup authority”.

He warned that if ECOWAS (the Economic Community of West African States) abandons Bazoum, all the heads of the group will be at risk coup against them.

Macron renewed the expression of France’s support for ECOWAS in its diplomatic move to get out of the crisis, but indicated that it supports the possibility of any military action that the African organization might take.

Regarding the French military presence in Africa, Macron said, “Our presence in Africa isn’t only related to the terrorist threat, and the military solution shouldn’t be a substitute for the political one”.

He criticized the abandonment of the putschists, by clinging to their position, of the international aid provided to Niger to confront the terrorists, warning of the consequences for neighboring countries as well.

According to an agreement signed in 2013, the US and French forces use the 101 base of the Nigerien Air Force in Niamey as a center for drone activities.

On July 26, members of the Presidential Guard carried out a coup against Bazoum, suspended the constitution and formed a National Council for the Salvation of the Nation and a government of civilians and military personnel.

The military administration in Niger calls on Paris not to interfere in its internal politics, and accuses the Bazoum government of being politically subordinate to the French will, which previously represented the colonial state.

Macron warned Monday of the risk of weakening Europe and the West in the current international context, praising what the French ambassador in Niamey is doing following the coup against President Mohamed Bazoum in Niger.

In his speech to the French ambassadors meeting in Paris, he considered that this context is getting difficult and complicated… and threatens to weaken the West, especially Europe.

Macron also praised the work of French diplomats in difficult circumstances, noting in particular the situation in Niger, where the French ambassador is still in office.

Ambassador Sylvain Itte followed Macron’s speech from Niamey.

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