U.S Threatened Niger To Stop Doing Business With Russia & Iran - PM Says - 9jaflaver

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U.S Threatened Niger To Stop Doing Business With Russia & Iran – PM Says

U.S Threatened Niger To Stop Doing Business With Russia & Iran – PM Says

NIAMEY, NIGER – DECEMBER 29: Prime Minister of Niger Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine attends as citizens of Niger gather to perform Friday prayers and afterwards celebrate the departure of French troops in front of the French military base in the capital Niamey, Niger on December 29, 2023. France withdrew all its troops from the country and closed its embassy in Niamey as a result of tensions with France following the military seizure of power in Niger on July 26. (Photo by Balima Boureima/Anadolu via Getty Images)

A crucial military relationship between the 🇺🇸 United States and its closest West African ally, 🇳🇪 Niger, ruptured this spring after a visiting U.S. official made threats during last-ditch negotiations over whether American troops based there would be allowed to remain, ultimately leading to US troops expulsion, according to the country’s prime minister.

In an exclusive interview, Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine put the blame for the breakdown squarely on the United States, accusing American officials of trying to dictate which countries Niger could partner with and failing to justify the U.S. troop presence, now scheduled to end in the coming months.

Niger has been central to efforts to contain a growing Islamist insurgency in West Africa.

The rift between the former allies has created an opportunity for Russia, which has moved quickly to deepen its relationship with Niger, dispatching troops to the capital, Niamey, last month to train the Nigerien military and supplying a new air defense system. Russian and U.S. troops now occupy opposite ends of an air base.

“The Americans stayed on our soil, doing nothing while the terrorists killed people and burned towns,” he told The Post. “It is not a sign of friendship to come on our soil but let the terrorists attack us.

We have seen what the United States will do to defend its allies, because we have seen Ukraine and Israel.”

Zeine also took offense at what he said was U.S. officials demanding that Niger not engage closely with Iran and Russia, two of Washington’s adversaries.

He claimed there was an ultimatum to have security with the U.S. or be close to Tehran and Moscow, while pursuing an Iranian deal for uranium would result in American sanctions. Zeine said Niger has not signed a deal for uranium.

“First, you have come here to threaten us in our country. That is unacceptable,” he told The Post. “And you have come here to tell us with whom we can have relationships, which is also unacceptable. And you have done it all with a condescending tone and a lack of respect.”

Niger fell to a military coup last year, which saw the placement of Zeine as prime minister after the ouster of the country’s former president, Mohamed Bazoum.

Since then, the nation has grown more hostile to western forces closer to U.S. adversaries, welcoming Russian military trainers this year and Iran’s president in a state visit.

Niger ordered France to withdraw troops before negotiating with the U.S. on a new agreement that ultimately culminated in the Pentagon announcing it would eventually withdraw all its forces last month after more than a decade in the country.

The coming withdrawal is another setback for the U.S. in the African Sahel region, which has experienced multiple coups in the past few years that have ultimately benefitted Russia.

Source:- Washington Post || The Hill

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