Macron has insisted that France would not change position in condemning the coup and offered support to Mohamed Bazoum and ECOWAS.
Niamey and Paris’ differences seem irreconcilable. During a major foreign policy speech to ambassadors in Paris, Monday (Aug. 28), French president Emmanuel Macron doubled down on his government’s line regarding the junta.
“Our policy is the right one. It depends on the courage of President Mohamed Bazoum, the commitment of our diplomats, of our ambassador on the ground who is remaining despite pressure,” Macron told a gathering of French ambassadors in the capital on Monday.
French Ambassador Sylvain Itte was ordered to leave Niger within 48 hours in a letter Friday (Aug. 25) from the Nigerien Foreign Ministry that accused him of ignoring an invitation for a meeting with the ministry. The letter also cited “actions of the French government contrary to the interests of Niger.”
Niger’s President Bazoum was toppled on July 26. France, the Economic Community of West African States and the UN among others have called for him to be reinstated.
“We do not recognize the putschists, we support a president who has not resigned, who we remain committed to. And we support the diplomatic action and, military action should it be the case, of ECOWAS, within a partnership approach which is the one I presented last February, ” the French head of state said.
The de facto ruling CNSP have since the coup appointed a new government. Coup leader general Abdourahmane Tiani said the CNSP will return Niger to democratic rule within 3 years as he announced a national dialogue on Aug. 19 .
Although it is considering a more diplomatic channel for resolution, ECOWAS has hit the nation with sanctions, threatening to send troops.
A spokesman for the French military on August 10 said that any cooperation with Niger in the fields of development and financial aid and military partnerships had been suspended until further notice.