Niger Accuses US of Illegal Presence, Alleges Secret Deals with Iran

Niger’s military spokesperson, Col Amadou Abdramane, condemns the US presence in the country, citing it as illegal and in violation of democratic norms. The junta, in power since last July, alleges that the US delegation accused Niger of secret uranium deals with Iran, a claim described as “cynical” and reminiscent of the Iraq war era. Col Abdramane also criticizes US objections to Niger’s chosen allies, denouncing a condescending attitude and threats of reprisals.

In response, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller acknowledges the statement, highlighting discussions regarding concerns with Niger’s military council’s trajectory. Meanwhile, there are approximately 650 US personnel in Niger, with a significant investment in a drone base aimed at combating jihadist activity in the Sahel region.

Niger’s shift towards Russia is evident, as junta-appointed Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine engages in talks with Moscow for military and economic cooperation. Col Abdramane emphasizes Niger’s pursuit of military equipment from Russia to combat terrorism, amid growing disillusionment with former colonial power France and the departure of French troops from the country in December.

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