France Ready To Support Military Action In Niger, Won’t Pull Ambassador: Macron
France is defying the orders of Niger’s junta leaders, who have ordered France’s ambassador to immediately leave the country.
On Friday, French Ambassador Sylvain Itte was issued a letter telling him to exit the country within 48 hours, but Paris has said it will not recognize the “the putschists” but instead supports “a president who has not resigned,” according to fresh statements of French President Emmanuel Macron.
“Our policy is the right one. It depends on the courage of President Mohamed Bazoum, the commitment of our diplomats, of our ambassador on the ground who is remaining despite pressure,” Macron affirmed in a speech to a gathering of French ambassadors in Paris on Monday.
He also dismissed assertions that there’s reason to be afraid of Niger’s military rulers, given Amb. Itte could face arrest or even violence, also after earlier this summer the French embassy was attacked and set on fire by pro-coup demonstrators.
“One shouldn’t give in to the narrative used by the coup leaders that consists of saying France has become our enemy,” Macron said in the speech.
He also blamed Niger’s military coup leaders for country’s current economic woes and political instability. “The problem of Nigeriens today is the coup leaders who put them in danger because they are abandoning the fight against terrorism, because they are abandoning a policy that was economically good for (the population) and they are in the process of losing international funding that was helping them emerge from poverty,” he said.
But importantly, Russian media has picked up on an important part of speech where Macron said he’s willing to support military intervention if it is decided by a regional bloc of African states:
France is set to support any efforts, including military intervention, made by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to restore constitutional order in Niger, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday.
“We support the diplomatic and, if it is decided, the military activity of ECOWAS,” he said, adding that Paris will not drop its support for legitimately elected President Mohamed Bazoum.
UPDATE – French President Macron regarding Niger:
“Our policy is simple: we do not recognize the putschists, we support a president who has not resigned”.
“We support the diplomatic action, and when it decides, the military [decision] of ECOWAS”.
— TifaniesweTs (@TifaniesweTs) August 28, 2023
ECOWAS has made the threat several times, but has lately waffled in the face of Niger’s warning that it is ready to fight if invaded.
Niger also has a couple of regional supporters in the countries of Mali and Burkina Faso, both also run by juntas. These two outside powers would like jump by Niger’s side against the ECOWAS coalition.
Tue, 08/29/2023 – 02:45