Niger cuts military ties with EU

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As Military Government Niger Republic struggles to stand on its feet after regional and international sanctions to force the it to reverse its coup, the government has become more emboldened and consolidates its hold on power and seeks new partnerships

The recent development is cancellation of military cooperation deals with the European Union.

The deals were intended to stem the violence in Africa’s Sahel region as the country’s army leaders and a senior Russian defence official discussed military cooperation.

Nigerien forces will no longer take part in a European-led training mission or the European Union Capacity Building Mission in Niger, known as EUCAP, to reinforce security capacity in the Sahel state, Niger’s Ministry of foreign affairs said in a statement Monday.

Before the coup which ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum, Niger had been the West and Europe’s last major security partner in the Sahel, the vast region south of the Sahara Desert where extremist groups have turned into a flashpoint for global terror.

Niger’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said the government has decided to “withdraw the privileges and immunities granted” under the EU Military Partnership Mission in Niger that was launched in February and consequently “has no legal obligation” related to that partnership.

It also revoked the EU Civilian Capacity-Building Mission, a security accord established in 2012 to strengthen Niger’s internal security sector.

The latest move revoking the security accord is the latest in growing political tensions between Niger and the EU since the July coup.

In a rare visit on Sunday, a Russian delegation led by Russia’s Deputy Minister of Defence Yunus-Bek Yevkurov met with Niger’s junta leader, General Abdourahmane Tchiani, and Minister of State for National Defence Salifou Mody. The two sides held more meetings on Monday to discuss military and defence issues.

“At the centre of the discussions is the strengthening of cooperation between the two countries in the field of defence,” Niger’s Defence Ministry said in a statement, hinting at formal political ties with Moscow, which has no embassy or military personnel in the country.

Niger has been sanctioned by most of its foreign economic and security allies, including France, which had 1,500 troops operating in the country. All of them have been asked to leave.

.Through its private mercenary, Wagner Group, Russia has provided security services in the Central African Republic, Mali among other countries where they are partnering with the army to combat terror groups and insurgents.

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