France Defiant, Insists Niger Military Junta Cannot Expel Its Ambassador

The French government has firmly rejected the demands of Niger’s coup leaders, asserting that the “putschists have no legitimate authority” to issue directives to the French ambassador in Niamey.

The military faction that seized control in Niger on July 26 had audaciously given the French ambassador, Sylvain Itte, an ultimatum of 48 hours to leave the country.

“The request made by the putschists has been duly noted by France,” stated the French Ministry to AFP. However, France promptly dismissed this request, emphasizing that the coup leaders lack the legitimacy to make such demands.

France reiterated that the appointment and presence of the ambassador fall solely under the jurisdiction of Niger’s duly elected and legitimate authorities.

In their statement, France asserted, “The putschists are not authorized to make this request, as the ambassador’s accreditation is granted solely by the legitimate elected authorities of Niger.”

With unwavering determination, the French Ministry underscored that the operational status and security evaluation of their embassy remain ongoing. The Ministry stated, “We are consistently assessing the security and operational conditions of our embassy.”

Niger’s Expulsion Order for the French Ambassador

The military government of Niger had issued an expulsion order to the French ambassador in Niamey, Sylvain Itte, on Friday, demanding that he leave the country within 48 hours.

This proclamation was grounded in the alleged non-response of the French ambassador to a ministerial summons, as well as actions taken by the French government that were deemed contrary to Niger’s interests.

Niger’s government declared, “The French ambassador’s refusal to attend a meeting summoned by the minister on Friday and other actions of the French government that are against Niger’s interests.”

This diplomatic move comes after a series of protests against France following the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum’s regime by the Nigerien military. President Bazoum and his family have been detained since their removal from power.

The military leadership vehemently contends that Paris aims to intervene militarily in Niger to reinstate Bazoum.

Furthermore, they openly criticize the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), portraying it as being influenced by France, the former colonial power in the region.

In response to the coup, ECOWAS imposed significant economic sanctions on Niger and reserved the possibility of armed intervention to restore constitutional order.

Within Niger, France has stationed approximately 1,500 troops to combat the persistent threat of jihadist groups that have caused turmoil not only in the country but also across the broader Sahel region for an extended period.

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