Niger Cut Military Ties with US over Washington Threats, Iran Partnership: PM


Niger’s prime minister says the termination of military cooperation and bilateral relations between his country and the United States was due to American threats and Washington’s opposition to the African nation’s partnership with Iran and Russia.

Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine told The Washington Post in an interview published on Tuesday that the US had tried to dictate what countries Niamey can have close relations with and had not justified its military presence in the West African country.

Underlining the US failure to combat terrorism in Niger and the Sahel region for a decade, Zeine said, “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.”

Zeine said the United States’ tone and behavior toward Nigerien officials were the “primary reason” for the broken relations.

The Nigerien prime minister criticized US officials’ call on Niamey not to engage closely with Iran and Russia as they were two of Washington’s adversaries.

Zeine said he had been given an ultimatum by the US administration to have security with Washington or be close to Tehran and Moscow.

“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.”

Citing US officials, the American daily newspaper reported that the withdrawal of the US troops from Niger, which is slated in the coming months, marks a notable setback for US President Joe Biden’s administration.

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