The deadline for the French ambassador to leave Niger has ended 28 August 2023
The 48-hour deadline given by Niger to the French ambassador, Sylvain Itte, to leave the country ended on Sunday evening. Local media reported that security measures around the French embassy in Niamey were tightened, and no one was allowed to approach the area. The Niger Foreign Ministry announced on Friday that the French ambassador had 48 hours to leave the country, stating that he refused to meet with the new rulers, citing actions by the French government that were deemed to be "contrary to Niger's interests."
The water and electricity supply may be cut off from the embassy if Itte does not leave the country. In response, France declared that it does not recognize the military administration's decision and that Itte will remain in Niger.
Thousands of people demonstrated in support of the coup that took place last month in Niger, just hours before the final deadline for the French ambassador to leave the country. The protesters gathered near the French military base in the capital, Niamey, with some waving Niger and Russian flags, while others held signs calling for the departure of French forces.
Around 1500 French soldiers are still stationed in Niger, where they had been assisting the ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum, in the fight against extremists. The military administration that took power after the coup in Niger announced the cancellation of military cooperation agreements with France.
In late July, the Nigerien army ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, and elements of the presidential guard staged a coup. They suspended the constitution, formed a "National Council for the Salvation of the Nation," and established a government consisting of civilians and military personnel.
The military administration in Niger demands that Paris refrain from intervening in its domestic policies and accuses the deposed President Bazoum's government of being politically aligned with French interests.