France to support ousted Niger President despite troop withdrawal
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna voiced her alleged apprehension about the escalating terrorist menace in the Sahel region.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna stated on Monday that Paris will continue its support for ousted Nigerian President Mohamed Bazoum and advocate for the reinstatement of constitutional order in Niger, despite the announced withdrawal of French troops from the nation.
"The announced decision does not change France's position on supporting President Bazoum and calling for the restoration of constitutional order with the support of ECOWAS [the Economic Community of West African States]," Colonna said at a joint press conference with her Italian counterpart, Antonio Tajani.
The French diplomat also voiced her alleged apprehension about the escalating terrorist menace in the Sahel region.
After Mali, Burkina Faso, and the Central African Republic, France is being forced to withdraw troops from yet another former African colony: Niger.
Faced with growing anti-French sentiment since a military takeover in Niger in July, French President Emmanuel Macron has announced plans to withdraw 1,500 troops, along with France's ambassador to Niamey.
The withdrawal is expected to occur in the upcoming weeks or months, with the military anticipated to return to France by the end of 2023.
In a statement, Niger's Minister of Foreign Affairs revealed that the decision to expel French Ambassador Sylvain Itte was prompted by a series of perceived provocations by the French government.
Notably, the refusal of the French ambassador to engage in a scheduled meeting with the Minister and other actions that were deemed contrary to Niger's interests led to this drastic diplomatic measure.
On July 26, a coup occurred in Niger, resulting in the ousting and detention of President Bazoum by his own guard, led by Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani. Subsequent to the coup, ECOWAS issued a warning of intervention unless the rebels reinstated Bazoum.