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Niger, Morocco turn their backs on France as Macron withdraws troops

In the Sahel region and in North Africa, post-colonial France is rapidly losing its influence.
French President Emmanuel Macron (R) and Senegal's President Macky Sall (L).

PARIS — France's standing in Africa's Sahel region and in North Africa is being challenged, forcing Paris to recalculate its relations and cooperation with Niamey, Rabat and other capitals on the continent.

Last Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced the retreat of French forces from Niger and the return to Paris of Ambassador Sylvain Itte. Macron’s announcement came two months after a military coup in Niger. The junta that took control of the country demanded almost immediately that Itte leave the country. It also demanded that the 1,500 French soldiers stationed in Niamey withdraw. In parallel, thousands of people demonstrated again and again outside the French military camp and the French Embassy, burning French flags and waving anti-French banners. 

Paris declined both demands, repeatedly insisting that the junta had no legitimacy to issue such decisions. But the announcement by the Elysee Palace to recall the ambassador and withdraw troops reflects the current understanding that it cannot force the hand of the junta and can no longer guarantee the safety of its envoys there.

An emerging "anti-French alliance" 

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