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Italian Secret Service director meets Niger junta. Was the meeting supposed to be secret?

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On Thursday, General Abdourahamane Tiani, head of the military junta that seized power in Niger last summer, welcomed General Giovanni Caravelli, director of the Italian Foreign Intelligence and Security Agency. The photo released by the Niger government shows a general with a somewhat strange expression. I am amazed and annoyed by the photo of the government representative. Did he want to remain incognito?

According to a junta memo released, the latter brought “a message of solidarity” from Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni to confirm “the willingness to strengthen bilateral cooperation.” However, the content of the message was partially denied by both the Italian intelligence services and the government: one cannot sound enthusiastic about relations with the military junta when the latter notified the U.S. of its eviction just the day before!

It is the same note that reminds us that Italy remains the only European country to have kept channels open with Niger, even after the coup. About 250 Italian military personnel are present in this key country of the Sahel and emigration routes, engaged in the bilateral mission Misin.

Italy has no post-colonial interests in Niger and has only the need to keep good relations and contain the flows of illegal immigration that then arrive on its southern shores So it is vvio that it seeks, however, a way of dialogue.

Niger also had good words for Italy, including maintaining contacts with the West. Tiani “praised the professionalism and skills of Italian trainers during their missions with the Niger armed forces,” the note continues. Which concludes by claiming that “Italy is committed to supporting Niger in terms of both equipment and capabilities to better address security challenges.” Two weeks ago, the activity of the U.S. task force was also declared “illegal” by the coup plotters; weighing in seems to have been the possibility of an agreement between the coup junta and Iran to allow the latter access to its uranium reserves. Of late 2023, however, is the exit of the last French military from the country.

General Caravelli’s visit to Niamey follows that earlier this month of Ambassador Riccardo Guariglia, secretary general of the Farnesina, and General Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, head of the Inter-Forces Summit Operations Command. That had been the first joint Italian mission of senior foreign and defense officials since the coup. The two met with Bakari Yaou Sangar√© and Salifou Modi, ministers of Foreign Affairs and Defense, respectively.e’re not.”

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