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The Prime Minister of Niger has blamed the United States for a breakdown in relations as the planned withdrawal of approximately 1,000 American troops looms.

Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine criticized the US approach in an interview with The Washington Post, expressing dissatisfaction with the American military’s efforts to address terrorism in Niger. “The Americans stayed on our soil, doing nothing while the terrorists killed people and burned towns. 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.”

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The Prime Minister also claimed that the United States was attempting to limit the country’s diplomatic engagements with other countries. He said, “First, you have come here to threaten us in our country. That is unacceptable…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.”

This development comes as strained relations between the US & Niger came shortly after a military coup last year that put Zeine in position as the prime minister. Following his appointment, Niger began to move closer to various US adversaries, including Russia and Iran. 

Digging Deeper:
The revocation of the US-Niger security pact has raised concerns among US officials that Russia is continuing to gain a foothold in Africa amid deteriorating US influence in the region. In addition to Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali (two countries also in the Sahel region) have turned to Russia and its private military contractors to fight terrorism in their country. In return, Russia has established bases and gained access to rare earth materials.


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