Niger: France will close its embassy, ​​which is “no longer able to operate normally”

It marks the end of the French presence in Niger: Paris has decided to close its embassy in the African country, where “it is no longer able to function normally or carry out its missions”, Agence France learned -Press Thursday December 21 from diplomatic sources

Niger: France will close its embassy, ​​which is “no longer able to operate normally”

It marks the end of the French presence in Niger: Paris has decided to close its embassy in the African country, where “it is no longer able to function normally or carry out its missions”, Agence France learned -Press Thursday December 21 from diplomatic sources. This extremely rare measure comes after Niamey announced on December 12 the departure of all French soldiers deployed in Niger as part of the anti-jihadist fight by December 22, i.e. Friday.

It is the culmination of a deep divorce between France and Niger since the generals came to power in Niamey during a coup d'état on July 26. In Mali and Burkina Faso, where military regimes have also ousted the French army in recent years after coups, France has maintained its diplomatic representations, despite strong tensions with these countries which have moved closer to Russia .

But the dispute seemed insurmountable in Niger where, "after the attack on our embassy on July 30, and after the establishment of a blockade around our hold by the Nigerien forces, we proceeded, at the end of September, with the departure of the 'most of our diplomatic personnel,' the diplomatic sources explained.

“The French embassy in Niger is therefore no longer able to operate normally or carry out its missions. Taking note of this situation, we have decided to close our embassy soon,” they continued. “It is in this context that we had to proceed with the dismissal and compensation of our local law agents,” according to them.

“We were collectively in danger.”

After the July 26 coup, the military in power quickly demanded the departure of French soldiers – around 1,500 deployed to fight against the jihadists – and denounced several military agreements concluded with Paris. The military regime also pronounced at the end of August the expulsion of the French ambassador Sylvain Itté. He remained stuck inside the diplomatic representation for almost a month before leaving. He was “taken hostage”, commented French President Emmanuel Macron.

Nigerien companies supplying supplies to the embassy were “dissuaded, even threatened” by the new power, and ended up no longer coming, Mr. Itté declared at the end of September on TF1. “We had to take out the trash without our friends in the junta noticing,” he said, adding: “It was a matter of bringing in food and water, again by showing ingenuity.”

On July 30, the violent demonstration which had targeted the French embassy turned into an “attack” and “lasted more than two and a half hours”, he said. “That day, we were collectively in danger and we came very, very close to the tragedy, because there were more than 6,000 people who were there to fight it out, who were there to enter the embassy.” , the diplomat reported.