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Niger’s junta expels French ambassador

Faced with “the refusal of the French ambassador in Niamey to respond to an invitation” from the minister for a meeting

Friday and “other actions of the French

government contrary to the interests of

Niger”, the authorities have decided to withdraw their approval of Sylvain Itte and ask him to depart.

Niger’s junta ordered France’s envoy to leave the country within 48 hours on Friday (Aug. 25), the foreign ministry said.

The statement read that the decision to expel ambassador Sylvain Itte was taken partly due to his refusal to respond to an invitation to a meeting with Niger’s minister of foreign affairs on Friday.

The statement also cited “actions by the French government contrary to Nigers’ interests “, without elaborating.

The country’s military rulers deposed President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.

In early August, the junta said it will scrap various military cooperation deals with France that were made under the ousted President.

France, ECOWAS and the UN among others have called for Bazoum to be reinstated.

Instead, the junta appointed a new government and said it will return the country to democratic rule within 3 years.

Niamey’s regime has accused Paris of planning a military intervention in the country to reinstate Bazoum. They also claimed the West African bloc ECOWAS was “in France’s pay”.

France is Niger’s former colonial ruler.

France has deployed 1,500 men to back president Bazoum in his fight against terrorism that has destabilized much of the Sahel.

Source :AFP

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