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Niger Breaks Off Military Cooperation With US

The government of Niger announced on Saturday that it was breaking off “with immediate effect” its military cooperation agreement with the United States.

The declaration came just a day after a senior US delegation left Niger, following a three-day visit to renew contact with the military junta that ousted the president and moved closer to Russia.

The statement said the government had decided to “denounce with immediate effect” the agreement relating to US military and civilian employees of the US Department of Defense inside Niger.

It was read out Saturday evening on national television.

The United States still stations some 1,000 troops in Niger at a desert drone base built at a cost of $100 million.

Movements there have been limited since the July 2023 coup and Washington has curbed assistance to the government.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken paid a rare visit to Niger a year ago in hopes of shoring up president Mohamed Bazoum, a stalwart ally in Western security efforts against jihadists.

Just four months later, the military deposed Bazoum and put him under house arrest.

The junta took a hard line against former colonial power France, forcing the withdrawal of French troops in place for nearly a decade.

Niger’s military had in the past worked closely with the United States.

But the junta has sought cooperation with Russia, while stopping short of the full-fledged embrace of Moscow by military-run neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso.

AFP

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