French President Emmanuel Macron has rejected a proposal from Niger’s military leadership to withdraw its soldiers from the nation after a coup soured relations between the two countries.

Tensions between Niger and its former colonial power have risen after the July 26 revolution that deposed President Mohamed Bazoum and terminated military ties with France. Macron has suggested he would support a decision by the Economic Community of West African States to use force to restore democracy, however the regional organization has backtracked and stated that diplomacy is its first priority.

“If we redeploy, I would do it only at the request of President Bazoum,” Macron said, referring to Niger’s ousted leader, as the G-20 summit wrapped up in New Delhi, India, on Sunday. “We don’t recognize any legitimacy in the declarations from the put schists.”His remarks came after the governing junta stated that France was disregarding its request that the 1,500 French troops stationed in Niger depart by September 3. A junta spokesperson said late Saturday that Nigerien and French military leaders met earlier this month to discuss a strategy for a French soldier pullout from Niger.

The ECOWAS Commissioner’s spokesman stated that he was not authorized to talk on the topic. A spokesperson for the Ivory Coast’s defense ministry said he was unaware of any army moves.

Colonel-Major Amadou Abdramane also France was deploying troops in several West African countries as part of preparations for a possible regional military intervention aimed at ousting the junta.

“As of today, there has been no progress in the plan’s implementation,” Abdramane stated on national broadcaster Tele Sahel.

“France continues to deploy its forces in several ECOWAS countries as part of preparations for an attack on Niger in collaboration with the regional bloc.”

Source: Arise News


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