Lamine Zeine, the prime minister of the transitional government in Niger, held a press conference in the capital Niamey.
Pointing out that the French soldiers stationed in Niger are in an “illegal position” in the country, Zeine reminded that the military administration in Niger had already terminated the agreements that allowed the presence of French soldiers in the country.
Prime Minister Zeine said that talks are continuing to ensure the rapid withdrawal of the French troops and said, “What interests us is, if possible, to continue cooperation with a country (France) with which we share a lot.”
Speaking about the situation of Sylvain Itte, the French Ambassador to Niamey, who did not leave the country despite being declared “persona non grata”, Zeine said that Itte did not behave appropriately as a diplomat.
Zeine reiterated that Ambassador Itte must leave the country as soon as possible.
Regarding the possible military intervention to be organized by ECOWAS in Niger, Zeine said, “We have not stopped the talks with ECOWAS, the process continues. I believe we will reach an agreement in a few days.”
Despite this, Zeine added that they were prepared as if there would be an attack at any moment.
French military presence in Niger
France has about 1500 soldiers in Niger and a military base called “Niamey 101” near Diori Hamani Airport.
The military administration, which came to power in Niger on July 26, announced that 5 military cooperation agreements signed with France were cancelled.
The military administration gave Sylvain Itte, the French Ambassador to Niamey, 48 hours to leave the country on 25 August, but Itte did not leave the country.
Thereupon, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Niger announced that Ambassador Itte’s immunity was lifted and he would be deported by the police forces.
Itte is still in Niger territory.
coup in Niger
President Mohammad Bazum in Niger was detained by elements of the Presidential Guard Regiment on July 26, and that evening the soldier announced that he had seized power.
General Abdurrahmane Tchiani, Commander of the Presidential Guard Regiment, became the head of the transitional government called CNSP on July 28.
The CNSP appointed Lamine Zeine as prime minister on 7 August and announced the 21-member cabinet on 10 August, consisting of soldiers and civilians.