Washington, Sept. 25 (EFE) – The United States said Monday that France’s decision to withdraw its military contingent from Niger by the end of the year due to the coup d’état does not change its position on the conflict.
“It doesn’t change our posture,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told a news briefing.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Sunday that there would be an “orderly withdrawal” of its troops in Niger, a contingent estimated at about 1,500 troops, by the end of the year.
Niger had hosted much of the remaining troops from France’s anti-jihadist operation Barkhane since 2022 after they had been redeployed from Mali, where a ruling military junta allied with Russia strongly opposed the French presence in its territory.
A political crisis began in Niger on July 26, when a military junta calling itself the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland led by the former head of the presidential guard, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, dismissed President Mohamed Bazoum (now under house arrest) and suspended the constitution.
“We continue to call for the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Homeland to release President Bazoum and his family and all other members of the government who have been unlawfully detained and to take steps to restore democracy in the country,” Miller said.
The State Department spokesman said Washington was concerned about Bazoum’s continued detention and expressed concern for his well-being and said that is one of the reasons they are calling for his release.
The Pentagon said Sept. 7 that the US currently has about 1,100 troops at air bases in the capital, Niamey, and Agadez in the north and at its embassy.
Non-essential personnel left the country in July, while part of the military contingent was transferred from the Niamey base to Agadez in September. It was stressed at the time that Washington still hoped for a diplomatic solution to the conflict despite this move. EFE