Niger Terminates Military Cooperation Agreement with US Amid Political Shift

Niger’s government made a significant announcement on Saturday, abruptly terminating its military cooperation agreement with the United States. This decision followed closely on the heels of a high-level US delegation’s departure from Niger, concluding a three-day visit aimed at renewing ties with the military junta that recently ousted the country’s president and moved closer to Russia.

The government’s declaration, conveyed via national television, stated the immediate cessation of the agreement concerning the presence of US military and civilian personnel from the Department of Defense within Niger’s borders. The move underscores a notable shift in Niger’s geopolitical stance and strategic alliances.

US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller acknowledged the announcement, highlighting “frank discussions” held during the recent visit regarding Washington’s concerns about the junta’s direction. He affirmed ongoing communication with the junta and pledged updates as necessary, echoing sentiments expressed in an identical statement provided by the Pentagon.

Niger hosts approximately 1,000 US troops stationed at a desert drone base constructed at a considerable cost. However, movements and operations have been restricted since the military coup in July 2023, with the US scaling back assistance to the government in response.

The political upheaval in Niger has prompted a reevaluation of international relationships, particularly with former colonial power France and traditional allies such as the United States. The junta’s decision to sever military cooperation with the US follows a similar hardline stance taken against French forces, leading to their withdrawal after nearly a decade of deployment.

While Niger’s military has historically collaborated closely with the United States, recent developments indicate a pivot towards seeking cooperation with Russia. This shift underscores the evolving dynamics of regional geopolitics and the complex interplay of global powers in the Sahel region.

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