France recalls its ambassador to Niger — Macron

France recalls its ambassador to Niger and evacuate the embassy’s entire personnel, French President Emmanuel Macron said, SİA informs referring to TASS.

"France has decided to recall its ambassador. Our ambassador, together with other diplomats, will return to France in the coming hours," he said in an interview with the TF1 and France 2 television channels.

He stressed that France was present in Niger with the only goal of fighting against terrorism and repeated this thesis that France’s Operation Barkhane in Sahel countries (2013-2022) was successful. In his words, Burkina Faso, Mali and other countries, where the operation was held, would have been swallowed by Islamist caliphates but for France.

"Francafrique doesn’t exist any longer. We cannot interfere into [Niger’s] political live, despite the coup. Today, I spoke with President [of Niger Mohamed] Bazoum, the only legitimate power in the country. He was elected by people and is still kept hostage," he said, adding that the coup had been staged because of Bazoum’s "bold reforms."

In late July, a group of military rebels in Niger announced the removal of President Mohamed Bazoum. They then established the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (Conseil national pour la sauvegarde de la patrie, CNSP), headed by General Abdourahmane Tchiani, to run the country. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) suspended Niger’s membership in the organization and imposed tough sanctions on the country. Apart from that, ECOWAS leaders demanded the rebels set Bazoum free and warned about a military resolution of the situation if he is not released. Bazoum is still kept hostage at his residence.

On August 25, Niger’s military demanded that the French ambassador and his wife to Niger leave the country within 48 hours. They refused to do so and remained inside the embassy’s building. The French foreign ministry stressed that the rebels have no right to expel the French ambassador because "the agreement to the ambassador was issued by Niger’s legitimate authorities." On September 2, a court in the capital city of Niamey ruled to expel the French ambassador since he had been stripped of accreditation.

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