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Macron demands restoration of democratic order in Niger



Macron pledges to 'do better' amid yellow vests protests

French President Emmanuel Macron on Thursday urged the military junta to democratic order in Niger.

Soldiers attached to the Nigerien presidential guard toppled President Mohammed Basoum on July 26 and put him under house arrest alongside members of his family.

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union had imposed measures including asset freeze, travel ban and suspension in a bid to force the junta to restore democratic order in the Uranium-rich but hugely impoverished nation.

The West African bloc had about two weeks ago activated its standby force after the coup plotters initially rebuffed efforts at resolving the crisis amicably.

The leader of the junta, Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, during last weekend’s meeting with the ECOWAS delegation proposed a three-year transition programme in Niger.

The sub-regional body had since rejected the proposal and demanded a quick restoration of democratic government in the country. 

France, Niger’s colonial power, stationed soldiers in several parts of West Africa to counter the threats posed by jihadists in Burkina Faso and Mali.

Macron, who addressed journalists in Paris, demanded the release of the ousted president and restoration of constitutional order in Niger.

He also defended France’s military presence in West Africa.

READ ALSO: Tinubu resends Islamic clerics to Niger for fresh talks with military junta

He said African states had requested the French operations which successfully prevented the formation of caliphates a few thousand kilometres from France’s borders.

Macron said: “As far as Niger is concerned, we are clear: the coup is a coup against democracy in Niger, against the people in Niger and against the fight against terrorism.

 “If we hadn’t got involved with operations Serval and then Barkhane, there’s no doubt Mali and Burkina Faso will no longer exist, and I’m not sure myself if Niger will still exist.

 “When there is a coup and when the fight against terrorism is not the priority of the new rulers, France does not feel called to remain engaged.

“This is indeed dramatic for the countries concerned.”


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