France is planning to close its embassy in Niger indefinitely because it is unable to perform diplomatic duties due to restrictions imposed by the ruling junta, according to a letter from the French embassy to its Niger staff dated Tuesday and viewed by Reuters on Thursday.
Relations between Niger and France, its former colonial ruler, have soured since a military coup overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum and seized power in a coup in July.
Following the strategy of juntas in neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso, they ordered police to expel French Ambassador Sylvain Itte and called for the departure of French troops from the territory.
At first, France ignored the order, but a month later, President Emmanuel Macron announced the return of the ambassador to Paris and the departure of French troops.Practically a complete surrender to the demands of the Niger military government, which aims to replace French influence with Russian influence.
According to the document shared on social media, the Nigerian authorities did not respond positively to the embassy’s request to operate under regular conditions after the coup. All that is left for Paris at this point is the closure of a diplomatic representation that has now become useless.
French officials did not confirm or deny the document when contacted by Reuters.
However, they said the embassy’s situation has become difficult since the summer and that constraints are making it increasingly difficult to carry out operations. The closure comes to be the latest act in the humiliation of France, which now has negligible clout in Northwest Africa, once almost entirely its colony.