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Niger revokes military cooperation with US

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Niger’s ruling junta has revoked with immediate effect a military accord that allows military personnel and civilian staff from the U.S. Department of Defense on its soil, junta spokesperson Colonel Amadou Abdramane said on Saturday.

The decision follows a visit by U.S. officials this week which was led by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee and included General Michael Langley, commander of the U.S. Africa Command.

Abdramane, speaking on television in the West African nation, said the U.S. delegation did not follow diplomatic protocol, and that Niger was not informed about the composition of the delegation, the date of its arrival or the agenda.

He added that the discussions were around the current military transition in Niger, military cooperation between the two countries and Niger’s choice of partners in the fight against militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

“Niger regrets the intention of the American delegation to deny the sovereign Nigerien people the right to choose their partners and types of partnerships capable of truly helping them fight against terrorism,” Abdramane said.

“Also, the government of Niger forcefully denounces the condescending attitude accompanied by the threat of retaliation from the head of the American delegation towards the Nigerien government and people,” he added.

Abdramane said the status and presence of U.S. troops in Niger was illegal and violated constitutional and democratic rules because, according to the spokesperson, it was unilaterally imposed on the African nation in 2012.

“In light of all the above, the government of Niger, revokes with immediate effect the agreement concerning the status of United States military personnel and civilian employees of the American Department of Defense on the territory of the Republic of Niger,” Abdramane said.

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