America consents deadline for troop exit from Niger

(MENAFN) The United States has agreed to withdraw its military forces from Niger by mid-September, following a joint decision between the Pentagon and Niger's defense ministry. The agreement, announced in a statement on Sunday, marks a significant shift in UNITED STATES military strategy in the Sahel region.

The joint statement, posted on X (formerly Twitter) by the military government, outlined the terms of the disengagement. "The Ministry of National Defense of Niger and the United States Department of Defense have reached a disengagement agreement to carry out the withdrawal of American forces, which has already begun. It is therefore agreed that this disengagement will end no later than September 15, 2024," the statement declared.

Niger has been a strategic location for the United States, particularly for counterterrorism operations aimed at monitoring jihadist groups in the Sahel. However, the situation changed in March when Niger's military authorities, who seized power in a coup last July, terminated a decade-long defense agreement. This agreement had permitted the operation of around 1,000 American soldiers and civilian contractors in the country.

Following the coup, Niger's government has sought security assistance from Russia and severed military ties with former colonial power France in December. The Nigerien authorities have accused the UNITED STATES of attempting to influence their choice of allies, further straining bilateral relations. Niger's Prime Minister, Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine, reported that Pentagon officials had threatened sanctions if Niger pursued a uranium sale to Iran. Additionally, they warned that fostering relations with Russia could jeopardize Niger's security partnership with the US.

The relationship between the UNITED STATES and Niger has been on a decline since the pro-Western leader Mohamed Bazoum was ousted ten months ago. This withdrawal of UNITED STATES troops signifies a substantial change in the geopolitical dynamics of the region and highlights the evolving alliances and tensions in West Africa.



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