Threats from Washington Prompt End of Military Agreements, Says Prime Minister

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In an interview with the American newspaper, The Washington Post, Nigerien Prime Minister Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine asserts that Niamey decided to terminate its military cooperation agreement due to “threats” made by American officials. The decision by the new Nigerien authorities was announced in March, shortly after a visit by a US delegation. Discussions are underway to determine the withdrawal process for American soldiers.

The behavior of the American delegation in Niamey in March was deemed “unacceptable” by Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine. According to the Nigerien Prime Minister, as cited by The Washington Post, Niamey authorities took offense at remarks made by Molly Phee, the Deputy Secretary of State for African Affairs, who reportedly threatened Niger with sanctions if it agreed to sell uranium to Iran.

“When she finished, I said, ‘Madam, I will summarize in two points what you said. First, you have come here to threaten us in our country. This is unacceptable. You tell us with whom we can have relations, and you do so in a condescending tone,'” recounted Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine, who led the negotiations with the United States. He also clarified that no agreement had been reached with Tehran.

The Nigerien Prime Minister also criticized the Americans, who suspended their military cooperation after the coup, for “remaining on Nigerien soil” “doing nothing while terrorists killed people and burned cities.”

However, he noted, other nations such as Russia, Turkey, or the United Arab Emirates, welcomed the new Nigerien leaders “with open arms.”

According to the American newspaper, Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine expresses readiness to continue economic and diplomatic relations with the United States. In conclusion, the newspaper quotes his plea: “If American investors were to come, we would give them what they want,” he told representatives of the Department of Foreign Affairs. “We have uranium, we have oil, we have lithium. Come, invest, that’s all we want.”


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