France has announced the closure of its embassy in Niger. Since the coup on July 26th, 2023, relations between the two countries have severely deteriorated. Diplomatic sources explain that the embassy “no longer can function normally or carry out its missions.”
This is an exceptionally rare decision that reflects a new episode in the gradual rupture between Paris and Niamey. It began with the attack on the French embassy a few days after the July 26 coup.
Subsequently, the CNRD junta demanded the outright departure of the French ambassador, a demand that Paris refused. This led to a blockade of the establishment by the Nigerian defense and security forces. During this blockade, the ambassador could not leave or meet with counterparts, to the extent that French President Emmanuel Macron considered him a hostage.
Ambassador Sylvain Itté finally left Niger at the end of September 2023. Now, local staff will be compensated before being laid off. Meanwhile, all French soldiers deployed in Niger are expected to have left the country by December 22, according to statements from the military regime made ten days ago.