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Niger and the United States reach an agreement on September 15 for the “recent” withdrawal of American soldiers.

Niger and the United States reach an agreement on September 15 for the “recent” withdrawal of American soldiers.

The US and Niger made the announcement in a joint press release on Sunday, May 19, four days after an American delegation arrived in Niamey. “An agreement has been reached to withdraw US forces which has already begun”.

The agreement also included a deadline: the withdrawal of US troops from the country must be completed “Not later than September 15, 2024”According to a press release signed by Nigerian Defense Minister Salifo Modi and US Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict Christopher Meyer.

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Two months after the military cooperation agreement was denounced by the Niamey regime, which came to power in a coup in July 2023, US forces have begun to build up. The decision comes after days of discussions between representatives of the US Department of Defense and their Nigerian counterparts in Niamey this week. “With complete transparency and due mutual respect between the two parties”.

The military regime quickly demanded the withdrawal of soldiers from the former French colonial power after a coup that overthrew elected President Mohamed Bassum. The last soldiers left Nigerian soil on December 22. At the same time, Niamey moved closer to Russia, which sent instructors and military equipment in April and May.

“SAFETY AND SECURITY” WARRANTIES

Faced with Niamey's demands, Washington agreed in mid-April to withdraw from the country, which has been embroiled in an anti-jihadist campaign. Their number is estimated at 650, plus a few hundred contract workers. In Niger, the United States has a large drone base near Agadez (North), costing $100 million.

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For this deviation, procedures are established “Facilitating the entry and exit of U.S. personnel, including overflight and landing permits for military aircraft”, both countries announced on Sunday. Guarantees “Safety and Security” It was also given to American troops on their withdrawal.

Despite France's withdrawal, the United States hoped to remain in Niger. But relations soured after a March visit by a delegation led by Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Molly Bee.

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According to Nigerian Prime Minister Ali Mahamane Lamin Sain during this visit, Mrme Bi threatened officials in Niamey with sanctions if Niger signed a deal to sell the uranium it produces to Iran. The threats were resolved “unacceptable”This led to the breakdown of military cooperation with Washington.

Vedant Patel, a spokesman for the US Department of State, did not deny the fact that Molly Bee proposed a military junta. “A choice rooted in our belief in democratic principles and our national security interests.”. Mr. Cheen also mentioned that “nothing” No signing with Tehran on uranium.

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“The withdrawal of US forces will in no way affect the pursuit of relations between the US and Niger in the field of development”Both countries confirmed more in a press release on Sunday.

According to the Nigerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, US cooperation in development assistance is to continue with a new deal worth nearly $500 million over three years.

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The world with AFP

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