Emmanuel Macron has confirmed his support for military intervention in Niger as a coup struck the former French colony in July.
The French President made a major foreign policy speech on August 28 in Paris to French ambassadors, stressing his complete support for ECOWAS and Niger’s deposed President, Mohamed Bazoum, adding that France’s position has not changed regarding the condemnation of the scenes in Niamey, according to the AFP.
A coup broke out in Niger’s capital city Niamey on July 26 of this year, which saw the ousting of the democratically elected President. The West African country is now ruled by General Abdourahmane Tiani and the Economic Community of the West African States (ECOWAS) as well as The United Nations have criticised the actions of the junta, calling for Bazoum to be reinstated.
Mohamed Bazoum was elected in 2021 prior to an unsuccessful coup attempt.
During the gathering on August 28, President Macron stated, “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,”
France already has around 1,500 troops in Niger, as the country, and Sahel region more generally has been battling against violent Islamic extremists that have strong links to Daesh and Al-Qaeda. The French are helping local forces fight these groups.
Macron added, “We do not recognise the putschists, we support a president who has not resigned, who we remain committed to. And we support the diplomatic action and military action should it be the case, of ECOWAS, within a partnership approach which is the one I presented last February.”
France’s Ambassador to Niger, Sylvain Itte, has stayed in the crisis-stricken country despite being ordered to leave the country within 2 days in a letter sent to him by the West African state’s Foreign Ministry on August 25.
ECOWAS has sanctioned the already financially unstable country and has threatened to send troops on Nigerien soil. Also, the African Union recently suspended Niger.
West African countries, Burkina Faso and Mali have decided not to intervene forcefully in neighbouring Niger, seemingly rebelling against ECOWAS.
These two countries see Niger as an ally and recently, Nigerien military officials said that they will allow Mali and Burkina Faso’s troops in the country should ECOWAS act on their threat of military intervention.