US attempts a new military deal with Niger in a last ditch effort to stay

This news has been read 808 times!

In this photo released by The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, shows officials burning seized drugs in Niamey, Niger on June 26, 2023.

DAKAR, Senegal, April 20, (AP): The United States is attempting to create a new military agreement with Niger that would allow it to remain in the country, weeks after the junta said its presence was no longer justified, two Western officials told The Associated Press Friday.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the situation, said Washington was actively working on options for a revised deal aimed at retaining its foothold in the West African nation.
Niger plays a central role in the US military’s operations in Africa’s Sahel region, Washington is concerned about the spread of jihadist violence where local groups have pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State groups. Niger is home to a major US airbase, in the city of Agadez, some 920 kilometers (550 miles) from the capital Niamey, using it for manned and unmanned surveillance flights and other operations. The US has also invested hundreds of millions of dollars in training Niger’s military since it began operations there in 2013.
But relations have frayed between Niger and Western countries since mutinous soldiers ousted the country’s democratically elected president in July. Niger’s junta has since told French forces to leave and turned instead to Russia for security. Earlier this month, Russian military trainers arrived to reinforce the country’s air defenses and with Russian equipment to train Nigeriens to use.
The decision to revise the agreement was seen by one of the officials in an internal cable for State Department officials. It didn’t outline what the terms would be and it’s still unclear if the junta will be receptive to them.
In October, Washington officially designated the military takeover as a coup, which triggered US laws restricting the military support and aid that it can provide to Niger. In March, a US delegation traveled to Niger to hold discussions at senior levels to explore whether it was possible to achieve an agreement respecting the concerns of both sides, said a State Department official.
“We are in touch with the transition authorities and are discussing next steps. The (junta) has made it clear that they want a different model for what US military cooperation with Niger looks like going forward. What that cooperation is, is still under discussion,” said the official.

This news has been read 808 times!

Related Articles

Back to top button

Advt Blocker Detected

Kindly disable the Ad blocker

Verified by MonsterInsights