9/24/2023-|Last update: 9/25/202312:48 AM (Mecca time)
French President Emmanuel Macron announced the withdrawal of his country’s ambassador from Niger, Sylvain Ait, in the latest step within the escalating tension between the two countries since the Nigerien military coup late last July, while the authorities in Niger welcomed the French decision.
Macron said in a television interview that the French ambassador to Niger would return “in the coming hours,” and that his country would end its military presence there, explaining that the 1,500 French soldiers would leave during the coming weeks and months, with the complete withdrawal taking place “by the end of the year.”
The military junta in Niger had previously asked French Ambassador Sylvain Et to leave the country, but Et refused despite the military authorities revoking his privileges and diplomatic immunity.
The military junta in Niger previously asked Aite to leave the country, but he refused (European)
On August 3, the Nigerian Military Council announced the cancellation of the agreements with France, which Paris rejected, under the pretext of the council’s lack of legitimacy.
In a Nigerian reaction, the ruling military junta welcomed France’s announcement of its intention to withdraw its forces from the country by the end of the year, considering this “a new step towards sovereignty.”
Ban on French aircraft
On the other hand, Niger decided to block its airspace to French commercial aircraft, and this was stated in a statement by the Air Navigation Safety Agency in Africa and Madagascar (ASECNA), which was reported by French media on Sunday, without any official French comment on the navigation agency’s statement.
A copy of the agency’s letter to air carriers marked yesterday, Saturday (September 23), states that Niger’s airspace is available to all national and international commercial flights with the exception of French aircraft or those chartered from France, including the Air France fleet, according to the channel. French BFM TV.
A statement by the African Air Navigation Safety Agency revealed Niger’s ban on French commercial aircraft (Shutterstock)
In response to a question from Agence France-Presse, the main company, Air France, simply said that it “does not fly in Niger’s airspace.”
Since August 7, Air France, which operates flights between Europe and Africa, has suspended its flights to the capital, Niamey (4 flights per week), until further notice.
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