Niger’s military junta announces the end of military relations with the United States

DAKAR, Senegal — The military junta that rules Niger announced on state television Saturday that it was ending military ties with the United States. Until last year, Niger was considered the United States’ main ally in West Africa.

The announcement by a spokesman for the military junta that overthrew Niger’s democratically elected president last year came after Assistant Secretary of State Molly Fee, the U.S. State Department’s top official for African affairs, visited the capital Niamey. Gen. Michael E. Langley, Who is responsible for U.S. military operations in Africa?.This mission is a diplomatic mission American efforts It is looking for ways to work with military juntas in the region, where violence by Islamic extremists has escalated rapidly in recent years.

But junta spokesman Amadou Abdoulamane said in a statement read on television that Niger’s government “strongly condemns” the recent condescending attitude of the head of the U.S. delegation, which he said undermined relations between the two countries. long-term relationship. He said the government “immediately condemned” the agreement between Niger and the U.S. military and civilians working for the Defense Department.

“The U.S. presence on Niger’s territory is illegal and violates all constitutional and democratic rules,” Abdellamane said, adding that Nigerien citizens must be consulted before foreign troops enter Niger’s territory.

More than 1,000 U.S. troops are stationed in Niger, according to the military, and the United States operates a drone base in the country’s north that officials say is critical for monitoring extremist groups in the Sahel, a region that stretches across Desert beneath the Sahara in Africa.

Neither the State Department nor the African Communications Commission immediately responded to requests for comment Saturday. The U.S. State Department previously said that Fe and Langley would travel to Niamey on March 12 and 13 to “continue discussions with the leaders of the National Council for the Defense of the Homeland (CNSP) on Niger’s return to democracy and its future.” ongoing discussions since” our partnership for security and development. “

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The United States has largely suspended military aid to Niger after last year’s coup, and the base’s activities have been limited to surveillance to protect U.S. forces.Fei said In an interview with the Washington Post last month She stressed the importance of a swift democratic transition to Niger’s government and said U.S. aid would remain suspended until Niger sets a timetable for the restoration of democracy.

Niger’s government has so far refused to set a date for presidential elections, and democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum remains under house arrest.

Niger and neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso, also led by military juntas, have increasingly closer ties with Russia, which has made concerted efforts in recent years to expand its influence in the region, particularly through security partnerships. Abdoulamane said on Saturday that Niger had “state-to-state” relations with Russia, adding that all agreements between the two countries were reached transparently. In December last year, Russia and Niger announced the signing of a new security agreement, but it was not clear at that time what the agreement involved.

Russia has deployed hundreds of Afrika Korps soldiers to Burkina Faso in recent months – a corps that Russian officials say is the successor to the Wagner mercenary group – and an estimated 1,000 Russian troops are fighting Malian troops fight side by side.

Abdoulamane emphasized in the statement that Niger’s relations with Russia and Iran go back decades and criticized the United States for trying to “deny the sovereign people of Niger the right to choose these partners and the type of partnership that can truly help Niger.” Fight terrorism. “

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Shortly after the coup, Junta requests troops from France The country, which has historically been an important security partner, will leave the country, following the model set by the military governments of Mali and Burkina Faso. Each junta has justified its takeover by promising progress on security.But like Mali and Burkina Faso, Niger The number of attacks increased significantly by Islamist militants after the coup.

U.S. military officials say the Agadez base, built six years ago at a cost of $110 million, is critical for monitoring extremist groups linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State. Africa is increasingly maderather than their main battlefield, the Middle East.

In an interview earlier this year, Langley warned that if the U.S. shut down drone bases, the move would have “impact” on Niger and the region, as well as the U.S.’s broader counterterrorism strategy.

“If we can’t see, we can’t feel,” he said. “If we lose our footprint in the Sahel, it will reduce our ability to proactively monitor and warn, including for homeland defence.”

Sally reported from Niamey.

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By Ali Raza

I am a dedicated and skilled News Content Writer with a passion for delivering accurate and engaging stories to a diverse audience. With a solid background in journalism and a keen eye for detail, I bring a commitment to excellence and a deep understanding of the evolving media landscape.

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