France will end its military presence in Niger by the end of 2023, French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday.
“We are putting an end to our military cooperation with the de facto authorities of Niger because they don’t want to fight terrorism anymore,” Macron said regarding the military leaders who took over rule of the northwest African country in July.
The withdrawal will be organized in the coming weeks, he added.
“They will come back in an orderly manner in the weeks and months to come, and for that, we will coordinate with the putschists because we want this to happen calmly,” Macron said.
Responding to a question on the timeline of the withdrawal, Macron said there will not be any French soldiers in Niger by the end of 2023.
The decision to end the “cooperation” is “because we are not there to deal with internal politics and be hostages of putschists,” he said.
The French president also said he has decided to bring back the country’s ambassador to Niger, Sylvain Itte, to France. This comes a week after Macron said the ambassador was “literally being held hostage at the French embassy.”
“France has decided to bring back its ambassador,” Macron said. “In the coming hours, our ambassador along with several diplomats will return to France.”