In an interview with “France-2” and TF1 television channels, Macron said that he told ousted Niger President Mohamad Bazuma in a phone call on Sunday that “France has decided to recall its ambassador, and in the next few hours our ambassador and several diplomats will return to France.”
“And we will end military cooperation with Niger’s authorities because they no longer want to fight terrorism,” the French president added.
He said French troops would be withdrawn gradually, presumably by the end of the year, in coordination with the coup leaders “because we want it to happen peacefully”.
Macron indicated that the French military presence was in response to a request by the Niger government. However, after the coup, military cooperation between France and Niger was terminated.
Niger’s junta stressed that Macron’s announcement of the withdrawal of troops and the recall of the ambassador was “a new step towards the country’s sovereignty”.
“The forces of imperialists and neo-colonialists are no longer welcome on the territory of our country. A new era of cooperation based on mutual respect and sovereignty has already begun,” the junta statement said.
Hours earlier, the junta said it was closing Niger’s airspace to French commercial and military aircraft so the country could “regain full control of its skies and territory.”
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