PARIS, Sept. 25 — French President Emmanuel Macron said on Sunday evening that France would withdraw its troops deployed in Niger by the end of 2023.
Speaking in a televised interview, Macron 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,” he 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, Macron said, but we will do so in a different way. He added that France would focus on providing training and equipment to local forces, and on working with other countries in the region to improve intelligence sharing and coordination.
The decision to withdraw French troops from Niger comes after a period of growing tensions between the two countries. In recent months, the military junta in Niger has cracked down on dissent and has also expelled several French officials.
The withdrawal of French troops from Niger is a major blow to the fight against terrorism in the Sahel region. France has been a key player in the fight against al-Qaeda and its affiliates in the region, and its departure could leave a vacuum that could be exploited by terrorist groups.
It remains to be seen how the withdrawal of French troops will affect the situation in Niger and the wider Sahel region. However, it is clear that the decision is a significant development that could have far-reaching consequences. (Xinhua)