President Emmanuel Macron stated on Friday that France’s envoy to Niger resides like a hostage within the French embassy and accused navy rulers of blocking meals deliveries to the mission.
The ambassador resides off “navy rations,” Macron informed reporters within the French city of Semur-en-Auxois.
“As we converse, we now have an envoy and diplomatic employees who’re actually being held hostage within the French embassy,” he stated.
“They’re stopping meals deliveries,” he stated, in an obvious reference to Niger’s new navy rulers. “He’s consuming navy rations.”
Niger’s navy leaders informed French ambassador Sylvain Itte he needed to depart the nation after they overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.
However a 48-hour ultimatum for him to go away, issued in August, handed with him nonetheless in place because the French authorities refused to conform, or to acknowledge the navy regime as professional.
The coup has been condemned by France and most of Niger’s neighbors.
Macron stated the envoy “can not exit, he’s persona non grata and he’s being refused meals.”
Requested whether or not France would take into account bringing him house, Macron stated: “I’ll do no matter we agree with President Bazoum as a result of he’s the professional authority and I converse with him each day.”
International Minister Catherine Colonna later stated the ambassador “is working” and would keep at his publish for so long as Paris wished.
“He’s very helpful for us together with his contacts and people of his group,” Colonna informed LCI tv, including the ambassador nonetheless had a small group with him.
France retains about 1,500 troopers in Niger, and stated earlier this month that any redeployment may solely be negotiated with Bazoum.
The nation’s new leaders have torn up navy cooperation agreements with France and requested the troops to go away shortly.
Macron has for weeks rejected the decision to take away the French ambassador, a stance backed by the EU which has described the demand as “a provocation.”
Like France, the EU “doesn’t recognise” the authorities that seized energy in Niger, stated EU international affairs spokeswoman Nabila Massrali final month.
The impoverished Sahel area south of the Sahara has suffered what Macron has referred to as an “epidemic” of coups in recent times, with navy regimes changing elected governments in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, in addition to Niger.