• Wednesday, November 29, 2023
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Niger ultimatum:French ambassador gets 48 hours to leave country


The French ambassador to Niger, Sylvain Itte, has been ordered to leave the country within 48 hours as relations between the two countries deteriorate.

The junta-appointed foreign ministry explained that expelling the ambassador directly responded to actions “contrary to the interests of Niger” taken by the French government.

The ministry said these actions include the envoy’s refusal to recognize or meet with the junta-appointed foreign minister.

The request is also not recognized by the French government.

Read alsoNiger Coup: ‘Nobody wants to go to war’ – Abdulsalami Abubakar

“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 foreign ministry said in a statement on Friday evening.

The future of joint military efforts between France and Niger to fight an Islamist insurgency in the region is in doubt, with the coup pushing the longstanding relationship to breaking point.

France has called for the return of President Mohamed Bazoum to office and has said it would support efforts by ECOWAS to overturn the coup.

Read alsoThe toll of Niger coup on West African trade

Niger reflects Mali and Burkina Faso, which have booted out French forces and severed longstanding ties.

Niger is one of the world’s biggest producers of uranium and serves as a base for French, US and other foreign troops helping fight Islamist militant groups in the region.