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'Victory of Nigerien People': Politician on France's Withdrawal

© AFP 2023 -Supporters of the Niger's National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) wave a placard as they demonstrate ouside the Niger and French airbases in Niamey on August 27, 2023.
Supporters of the Niger's National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) wave a placard as they demonstrate ouside the Niger and French airbases in Niamey on August 27, 2023. - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 25.09.2023
On Sunday, President Emmanuel Macron announced that the French military would withdraw from Niger by the end of the year, stressing that Paris would end military cooperation with the current authorities in Niamey. France also decided to recall its ambassador to the country, where the military seized power in a coup in July.
France's move to leave the Niger can be seen as the European power's defeat and a victory of the West African nation's people, Omar Mukhtar Al-Ansari, Nigerien politician and member of the Democratic and Republican Renewal, told Sputnik. He noted that Nigeriens have been demanding the withdrawal for two months and have organized numerous demonstrations to protest against the French presence.

"The French president's statements that the decision to withdraw the troops was caused by the alleged unilateral will of France are very strange, because in fact it was caused by the pressure from the authorities and the people of Niger. The Nigerien military is euphoric about the victory and the withdrawal of France," he said.

On Sunday, Macron said that his country will organize a withdrawal of its troops from Niger in the coming weeks or months, adding that the French military will return to France until the end of 2023.
According to Al-Ansari, the president's inability to set a specific date for the withdrawal of troops is related to the closure of Nigerien airspace and the issue of transferring the three French bases to another country, since not all of them will return to Paris, but will go to neighboring African states.
Earlier, Niger's military rulers announced that the country's airspace is open to all national and international commercial flights, except for French or French-chartered aircraft.

Al-Ansari noted that Niger wants each country to respect its sovereignty, "only then will it be able to cooperate at all levels with the authorities of Niger." The politician explained that disagreements and the deterioration of bilateral relations occur only when a country tries to apply neo-colonial methods to another "free nation."

Commenting on the announced withdrawal of France, Niger's National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP), established after the coup, emphasized that the presence of French forces in Niger is not welcome.
French Barkhane Air Force mechanics maintain a Mirage 2000 on the Niamey, Niger base on June 5, 2021.  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 25.09.2023
Situation in Niger After Military Coup
National Council of Niger Says Presence of French Forces in Country Not Welcome
In late July, Niger's military announced on national television that President Mohamed Bazoum had been removed from power. Leaders of most Western countries and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned the coup. In early August, ECOWAS adopted a plan for military intervention in Niger to "restore constitutional order".
Following the coup, Niger's military leaders demanded the departure of the French ambassador and the withdrawal of French troops from the country. As of now, France has a contingent of about 1,500 troops in Niger.
However, France has repeatedly stated that it will only recognize the demands of Niger's legitimate authorities, calling for the immediate release of President Bazoum.