‘Profoundly unfair’ – Niger terminates its military agreement with the US

‘Profoundly unfair’ – Niger terminates its military agreement with the US

Niger’s military government has announced the termination of an agreement with the US, allowing military personnel and civilian staff from the Department of Defense to operate in Niger. This decision comes days after high-level talks with US diplomatic and military officials this week.

Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane, a spokesman for the Niger military, declared the change in a statement broadcasted on national television. He stated, “The government of Niger, considering the aspirations and interests of its people, decides with full responsibility to denounce with immediate effect the agreement relating to the status of military personnel of the United States and civilian employees of the American Department of Defense in the territory of the Republic of Niger.”

Abdramane criticized the agreement signed in 2012, stating it was imposed on Niger and violated the “constitutional and democratic rules” of the nation’s sovereignty. He emphasized, “This agreement is not only profoundly unfair in its substance but it also does not meet the aspirations and interests of the Nigerien people.”

While Niger was once a significant regional partner for the US, relations have soured since the military junta seized power in July 2023, labeled as a coup by the US. Consequently, the US has withdrawn many of its 1,100 troops stationed in Niger.

Senior Pentagon officials stress the importance of maintaining a presence in Niger to combat terrorism in the region. The Pentagon stated in October that it was assessing how the termination of the agreement would affect approximately 1,000 US forces stationed in the country. President Joe Biden informed Congress in December 2023 that around 648 US military personnel remain deployed to Niger.

The announcement follows a three-day visit by a senior US delegation to Niger this week. Abdramane criticized the delegation for not following diplomatic norms by failing to provide information regarding their arrival, composition, and purpose of the visit. During meetings, officials from Niger and the US discussed the military transition in Niger and cooperation between the two countries.

Abdramane expressed Niger’s regret over the US delegation’s attempt to deny the Nigerien people the right to choose their partners and partnerships to effectively combat terrorism. He strongly condemned what he described as the US’s condescending attitude, warning that it could harm the longstanding relations and trust between the two governments. Additionally, Abdramane rejected allegations of a secret deal between Niger, Russia, and Iran.

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