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Niger suspends military cooperation with US: Spokesma

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Niger suspends military cooperation with US: Spokesma

In a significant development in West Africa, Niger has suspended a crucial military agreement with the United States, leading to the withdrawal of thousands of French soldiers from the country. The decision was announced by ruling military spokesman Colonel Amadou Abdramane, dealing a blow to US security interests in the region.

The pact allowed US military personnel and civilian defense staff to operate from Niger, which plays a central role in the US military’s operations in Africa’s Sahel region. The country is home to a major airbase, including the drone base Air Base 201 near Agadez used for targeting ISIL and al-Qaeda affiliates.

US officials had visited Niger earlier in the week to discuss the democratic transition but did not follow diplomatic protocol. The US had previously designated the military takeover in Niger as a coup and accused the country of partnering with Russia and Iran on “secret” deals, which the Nigerien government denies.

Niger has been under military rule since July 2023, following a trend similar to Mali and Burkina Faso, where French and European forces were expelled, and ties with Russia were strengthened. The suspension of the military agreement and the expulsion of foreign forces mark a shift in the region’s geopolitics as Niger denounces the condescending attitude and threats from the US delegation.

The move by Niger to suspend the pact with the United States is seen as a response to US pressure to cut ties with Russia and Iran. It has raised concerns about the future of US security operations in the Sahel region and highlights the changing alliances and dynamics in West Africa.

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