US officials due in Niger next week after demand for troop withdrawal


A US delegation will visit Niger next week for talks with the military regime which has broken off a military agreement with Washington, state television announced Friday.

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Following a July coup, the West African country said last month that the 2012 cooperation agreement had been “unilaterally imposed” by the United States.

“A high-level American delegation will visit Niamey next week to take stock of our cooperation and make concrete proposals to the Nigerien side to better envisage the future,” Tele Sahel TV reported, summing up a visit to Washington by Nigerien Prime Minister Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine.

On Tuesday, Zeine met State Department officials in the US capital where they discussed strengthening “diplomatic, economic, trade and technological relations” among other topics, the channel said.

“The prime minister reiterated, in clear language and without taboos, Niger’s sovereign decision to demand the departure of all foreign forces, including American forces,” Tele Sahel said.

Zeine also met World Bank officials over the resumption of grants interrupted after the July 26 coup that overthrew elected president Mohamed Bazoum.

The United States suspended most of its cooperation, including military, with Niger following the coup.

In late March, Niger said the United States would submit a proposal to “disengage” its soldiers from the country.

Thousands of Nigeriens protested in Niamey on Saturday for the immediate departure of about 1,000 US soldiers based in the northern city of Agadez.

Niger and its neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso — also run by miliary regimes — have turned their backs on former colonial power France and strengthened ties with Russia.

French troops were expelled at the end of last year.

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