France discussing troops exit with Niger officials
Approximately 1,500 French soldiers are now stationed in the nation in three bases: in the city of Niamey, in Ouallam, north of the capital, and in Ayorou, near the Mali border.
According to French newspaper Le Monde on Tuesday, France has begun talks with Nigerien officials regarding the withdrawal of their troops from the country.
French sources reported that "discussions on the withdrawal of certain military elements have begun." At this point, neither the number of soldiers involved nor the circumstances of this departure have been officially agreed, but the idea has been accepted, according to the report.
On Saturday, thousands of people rallied in the Niger capital Niamey to call for the withdrawal of French troops from the country, as requested by the junta that seized power in June.
Protesters gathered near a French military base after several civic organizations issued the call for the withdrawal of French troops from the country.
Demonstrators were seen holding banners reading "French army leave our country."
Paris guilty of 'flagrant interference'
On Friday, Niger's military government launched a new verbal attack against France, accusing Paris of "flagrant interference" in the country's affairs by supporting the ousted president. The protest took place near a French military base outside Niamey.
On August 3, the military government of Niger announced that it was scrapping all military agreements with France, which has 1,500 troops stationed in the country.
France at the time rejected the move, saying that only the legitimate government of Niger can make such a decision.
Approximately 1,500 French soldiers are now stationed in the nation, on three bases: in the city of Niamey, in Ouallam, north of the capital, and in Ayorou, near the Mali border.
Some troops may be redeployed throughout the area, notably in neighboring Chad, or maybe repatriated directly to Paris.
The new Prime Minister of Niger, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine earlier remarked that "contacts" were underway about a "very swift" departure for Paris' troops, expressing that he hoped to maintain cooperation with "a country with which we have shared many things."
On Monday, Zeine spoke of the pressing need to rid the country of French troops, calling their position "illegal."
Regarding the French ambassador's refusal to exit the country, he expressed that the conduct was a "behavior of contempt." He elaborated on the nation's economic challenges, explaining that the country faced a substantial burden of 5200 billion CFA Francs (7.92 billion euros).