In a resolute stand against mounting pressure, France’s ambassador to Niger, Sylvain Itte, will remain in the Sahel country, as confirmed by President Emmanuel Macron. This decision comes amidst fervent calls for the ambassador’s departure from leaders of a recent coup in Niger. Furthermore, President Macron reiterated France’s unwavering support for Niger’s ousted President, Mohamed Bazoum, applauding Bazoum’s courageous choice not to resign. Macron also pledged Paris’s support for any military action that the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) might undertake in Niger. This significant declaration was made during President Macron’s foreign policy address to ambassadors gathered in Paris.
France’s Firm Diplomatic Stance
Amidst the tumultuous political climate in Niger, President Macron has taken a steadfast diplomatic stance. Despite a 48-hour ultimatum issued by Niger’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for Ambassador Itte to leave the country, France has chosen to stand firm. Sylvain Itte continues to serve as France’s envoy, stationed in Niger’s capital, Niamey.
During his address, President Macron commended the dedication and resilience of French diplomats operating in challenging environments worldwide. He acknowledged the arduous situations faced by France in recent months, highlighting Sudan as an example of exemplary French conduct. Macron’s emphasis on unwavering support for Ambassador Itte’s continued presence in Niger underscores France’s commitment to a peaceful, diplomatic resolution to the ongoing crisis.
The Coup and Its Condemnation
The coup in Niger, which unfolded on July 26, saw the ousting of President Mohamed Bazoum, who, along with his family, is currently held at the presidential palace. France, along with the majority of Niger’s neighboring nations, has unequivocally condemned this coup. President Macron reiterates the importance of respecting democratic processes and the legitimacy of President Bazoum’s election.
ECOWAS Diplomatic Efforts
While diplomatic channels are being actively pursued, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) stands ready to intervene militarily should these efforts prove futile. ECOWAS has been engaged in negotiations with the coup leaders, emphasizing the paramount importance of restoring constitutional order in Niger.
Niger’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a stern ultimatum, demanding the departure of Ambassador Itte within 48 hours. This ultimatum was grounded in Itte’s refusal to engage with the new ruling authorities and allegations that French government actions were deemed “contrary to the interests of Niger.”
France’s Unwavering Stance
President Macron reaffirms that France will not waver in its condemnation of the coup and its support for President Bazoum. This stance is rooted in the belief that their policy is the right one, built upon President Bazoum’s courage and the resolute commitments of their ambassador on the ground. Despite the relentless pressure and statements from the illegitimate authorities, France remains steadfast in its support for democratic governance in Niger.
In a time of political turmoil and uncertainty in Niger, President Macron’s unwavering support for President Bazoum and Ambassador Itte’s continued presence underscores France’s dedication to upholding democratic values and constitutional order. While diplomatic efforts are at the forefront of resolving the crisis, ECOWAS stands ready to take decisive action if necessary. France’s principled stance serves as a beacon of hope for a peaceful and democratic resolution to the challenges facing Niger.