French President Emmanuel Macron has been hit with a storm of criticism over the decision to pull out the country’s ambassador to Niger along with thousands of troops.
Since the recent military coup in Niger, the West African nation has been ruled by a junta which looks to sever ties to the old colonial power.
Amid anti-French protests, President Macron announced that the French Ambassador Sylvain Itté would leave Niger on Wednesday, October 4.
Likewise, 1,500 French troops currently in Niger to counter the threat from Jihadi groups are set to be withdrawn “by the end of the year.
The decision has been met with anger from Macron’s political opponents notably members of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (National Rally) party.
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Writing on X, formerly Twitter, Rassemblement National MEP Dominique Bilde branded the move “humiliating”.
Ms Bilde wrote: “The humiliating repatriation of the ambassador and soldiers present in Niger proves the total weakness of Macron’s France internationally.
“In addition to the humiliation, you can be sure that within a few years we will have their migrants and islamists on our doorstep.”
Frances’ decision has been welcomed by Niger’s new leader General Abdourahamane Tiani who made a televised speech on September 30 declaring “The people of Niger will now dictate the future relations with France”.
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The military regime which took power in the coup on July 26 had been calling for the removal of Itté and the withdrawal of French troops.
Niger’s former President Mohamed Bazoum was seen being an ally of France while Paris has yet to recognise the country’s new regime.
General Tiani has declared: “As they [the French] were there to fight terrorism and unilaterally stopped all cooperation […] their stay in Niger has come to an end.”
He argued that the coup was needed as “not only” have the French “not driven out the terrorists, but there are more and more of them”.
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