"We are ending our military cooperation with the de facto authorities of Niger," the French president said.
Speaking in a televised interview on Sunday, President Emmanuel Macron announced that France would withdraw its troops deployed in Niger by the end of 2023.
He said that the 1,500 French soldiers deployed in Niger to fight against terrorism in the Sahel region would return in an orderly manner by the end of the year.
"We are ending our military cooperation with the de facto authorities of Niger because they no longer want to fight against terrorism," Macron said, adding that France would consult with the military junta to make the withdrawal "done peacefully."
"We will continue to support the African continent in the fight against terrorism, but we only do so if it is at the request of democratically elected powers and regional authorities," he said.
Face à l'alliance Niger-Burkina Faso-Mali, la France doit retirer ses troupes du Niger. Probablement pour les redéployer dans des pays vassaux et tenter de déstabiliser les pays libérés, p. ex. à travers des terroristes qu'elle «combat» comme les USA combattent l'ISIS en Syrie... pic.twitter.com/0egDuoAP42— Thierry Deronne (@venezuelainfos) September 24, 2023
The text reads, "Faced with the Niger-Burkina Faso-Mali alliance, France must withdraw its troops from Niger. It will probably deploy them to vassal countries to try to destabilize liberated countries using, for example, the fight against terrorists, as the United States does against ISIS in Syria."
The French president also confirmed that the French ambassador to Niger would return shortly to France.
The military junta in Niger had demanded the departure of the French ambassador after the coup, but France refused. The junta then ordered the expulsion of the French ambassador at the end of August.
Relations between Niger and France took a cliff-like drop after the coup in Niger. France has suspended visa deliveries in Niger and evacuated its citizens, while Niger has closed its airspace for all French-registered aircraft.