Niger orders US troops to leave after Biden officials warn about ties with Russia and Iran: Pentagon

Niger has decided to withdraw its military cooperation agreement with the United States and ordered about 1,000 American soldiers to leave the country, a stunning development that comes after US officials last week traveled to the capital Niamey to “raise a number of concerns” about Niger’s soaring growth. The Pentagon said Monday that the United States is moving closer to Russia and Iran.

The ruling junta on Saturday canceled a key agreement known as the Status of Forces Agreement that allowed US forces to be in Niger. Biden administration officials are aware of this and are “working through diplomatic channels to seek clarification,” Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh told reporters.

But just last week, a delegation from Washington that included Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Fee, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Celeste Vallander and the head of US Africa Command, General Michael Langley, met with officials from the Nigerian National Council for International Security Affairs. Homeland Protection (CNSP).

“The US delegation was there to raise a number of concerns. . . We are troubled by the path Niger is taking. “So these were direct and frank conversations to meet these people in person, to talk about our concerns and to hear their concerns as well,” Singh said.

When asked about American issues, Singh said that officials “expressed concern about Niger’s potential relations with Russia and Iran.”

Biden administration officials have also raised concerns about whether Niger is close to reaching a deal that would give Iran access to its uranium reserves. The Wall Street Journal reported.

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The future of the US military presence in Niger has been in question since the military junta in late July imposed house arrest on the country's president and took control of the government.

The State Department, which did not officially declare the takeover a coup until October, reduced US aid in the country but allowed humanitarian aid. Washington has also suspended security operations in Niger, where US forces are largely assisting in counter-terrorism efforts in the region against the Islamist insurgency.

But following the recent trend taken by countries in the West Sahel region of Africa, Niger appeared to be turning to Russia as a partner at the expense of Western countries.

Niger army spokesman Colonel Amadou Abdel Rahman said in statements to national television, “The American presence in the territory of the Republic of Niger is illegal.” New York times. He also said that the presence of US forces “violates all constitutional and democratic rules, requiring that the sovereign people be consulted – in particular through their elected officials – regarding the installation of a foreign army on their territory.”

This development represents a major setback for US efforts in the Sahel region, where just six years ago it opened a $110 million base in northern Niger used to fly surveillance drones.

Niger's announcement of the expulsion of American forces also comes after France withdrew its forces from the country last year.

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