France suspends all aid to Niger: Foreign ministry

France suspends all aid to Niger: Foreign ministry

Shafaq News/ France has suspended all development aid and budgetary support to Niger following a military coup against President Mohamed Bazoum, the French foreign ministry said Saturday.

Paris “calls for an immediate return to constitutional order in Niger,” along with the reinstatement of democratically-elected Bazoum, the ministry said in a statement.

Located in the heart of the Sahel, the country of some 26 million people is two-thirds desert and has one of the highest demographic growth rates in the world.

The French Development Agency in 2021 committed 97 million euros to the country, one of the poorest in the world, according to figures on agency website.

French President Emmanuel Macron, while visiting Papua New Guinea on Friday, strongly condemned the coup, calling it “dangerous” for the region and demanding the release of Bazoum, who has been confined to his official residence since Wednesday.

Niger is one of the last allies France has in the Sahel, a region plagued by instability, insecurity and extremist attacks.

France ended its anti-extremist operations and withdrew its forces from Mali earlier this year in response to demands from the Bamako junta leader.

The former colonial power has 1,500 troops in Niger who operate jointly with the Nigerien army.

The coup in Niamey is the third such event in the region since 2020, following the ascension of military rulers in Mali and Burkina Faso.

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