France announces closure of its embassy in Niger until further notice


The French foreign ministry spokesperson expressed deep concern over the severe hindrances faced by their embassy for the past five months, citing impediments that significantly interfered with their diplomatic operations. In a statement, the spokeswoman highlighted the challenges, including a blockade surrounding the embassy, restrictions on staff travel, and the denial of permission for any diplomatic personnel to journey to Niger, categorizing these actions as clear violations of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.

The unprecedented decision to close the embassy coincided with the withdrawal of the final contingent of French soldiers from Niger on December 22. The strained relationship between Paris and Niamey has been palpable since the military coup in July, which ousted President Mohamed Bazoum. This event has been viewed as a substantial blow to French influence in the region, echoing the military takeovers in Mali in 2020 and Burkina Faso in 2022.

After the July 26 coup, the ruling military swiftly demanded the departure of the 1,500 French soldiers engaged in counteracting jihadist forces and renounced various military pacts previously agreed upon with Paris. Towards the end of August, the military regime instructed the expulsion of French ambassador Sylvain Itté, who remained confined inside the embassy for almost a month before eventually leaving.

In light of these developments, the embassy's operations will now be conducted from Paris. This shift aims to sustain connections with French citizens in the region and offer support to humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs). The ministry's statement emphasized their commitment to maintaining contact with French nationals on the ground and collaborating with NGOs working in the humanitarian sector to aid the most vulnerable populations in the region.


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