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African state scraps military ties with US

Niger’s coup leaders have denounced the country’s defense accord with Washington “with immediate effect“

Authorities in Niamey have decided to revoke the agreement with the US which allowed American military personnel and civilian contractors to operate in the West African state, a spokesman for the post-coup government announced on national television.

“The National Council for the Protection of the Fatherland officially denounced… the military cooperation agreements linking the country to the United States of America,” spokesman Colonel Amadou Abdramane announced on Niger’s national television on Saturday night.

The decision comes just days after a senior US delegation, which included the chief of US Africa Command, General Michael Langley, wrapped up its three-day visit to the African state, after apparently failing to negotiate a renewal of the contract.

Niger’s new government, which has been in power since the ouster of pro-western President Mohamed Bazoum last July, has taken a number of steps to cut ties with Niamey’s former military partners. The coup leaders have cited the Bazoum government’s alleged failure to combat Islamist terrorists in the Sahel, despite the presence of foreign forces, including French troops, as the reason for the military takeover.

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In December, France completed the withdrawal of its troops from Niamey after the coup leaders demanded they leave.

However, Washington said that disengagement from Niger was not an option for the US, claiming it will forge “pragmatic” relations with the new military authorities – despite joining France and other Western allies in suspending aid to Niamey in response to Bazoum’s ouster.

The United States currently has around 648 troops in Niger, mostly stationed at a $100-million desert drone base in Agadez, after repositioning some of the servicemen from the capital Niamey back in September.

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March 17, 2024 at 03:04AM
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