France To Withdraw Troops From Niger After Military Coup

 French President Emmanuel Macron announced Sunday he will withdraw their ambassador from Niger, followed by the French military contingent in the coming months.

The move will mark the end of a two-month-long standoff during which time Paris’ ambassador remained in Niamey, despite the coup leaders’ explicit directive for him to leave, Reuters reported. In addition to the ambassadors and diplomats leaving the country, Macron also said France will withdraw 1,500 troops by the end of the year, according to the outlet.

France faced persistent pressure from the junta and widespread popular protests to withdraw from the country. It is poised to intensify Western apprehensions regarding Russia’s growing authority in the African continent. Notably, the Russian private military company, Wagner, has marked its presence in Mali, which borders Niger.

“We will consult with the putschists because we want things to be orderly,” Macron told reporters.

Although Macron has refrained from officially acknowledging the junta as Niger’s legitimate governing authority, he has pledged to work hand in hand with the coup leaders to orchestrate the withdrawal of French troops. 

“This Sunday, we celebrate a new step towards the sovereignty of Niger,” Niger’s military rulers said in a statement, according to The Guardian. “This is a historic moment, which speaks to the determination and will of the Nigerien people.”

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