The French government has vehemently rejected the demands of the leaders of the Nigerien coup, stating unequivocally that their “putschists have no authority” to give orders to the French embassy in Niamey.
The military force that took over Niger on July 26 dared to give Sylvain Itte, the French ambassador, a 48-hour deadline to leave the country.
“France has duly acknowledged the request made by the putschists,” the French Ministry told AFP.
France swiftly rejected this appeal, demonstrating that the coup leaders lacked the authority to make such a demand.
As was stressed, the lawfully elected and legitimate authorities of Niger are entirely responsible for the ambassador’s appointment and attendance.
The statement from France said, “The putschists do not have the authority to make this request, the ambassador’s approval coming solely from the legitimate elected Nigerien authorities.”
The French Ministry reiterated that their embassy’s operating state and security concerns are still being monitored with unshakable resolve. It went further, saying, “We are constantly evaluating the security and operating conditions of our embassy,”
Niger ordered the French ambassador to leave Niamey
The French ambassador in Niamey, Sylvain Itte, was summoned by the Nigerian military government on Friday to leave the country. He had 48 hours to do so.
Their declaration was based on the purported ambassador’s non-response to a ministerial summons and suspected diverging French government acts that were thought to be against Niger’s interests.
What the government in Niger says
It stated thus, “the refusal of the French ambassador in Niamey to respond to an invitation from the minister for a meeting Friday and other actions of the French government contrary to the interests of Niger”.
Following the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum’s administration by the Nigerian military, several protests against France led to this diplomatic action. Since their ouster, President Bazoum and his family have remained in custody.
The military establishment is adamant that Paris wants to interfere in Niger to reinstall Bazoum militarily.
Additionally, they publicly criticise the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), portraying it as a tool of France, the former colonial power in the area.
Following the coup, ECOWAS sanctioned Niger severely economically while retaining the right to use armed action to restore constitutional order.
France has deployed about 1,500 troops within the boundaries of Niger to fight the ongoing danger posed by jihadist organisations that have long since seeded unrest inside the nation and throughout the larger Sahel area.