France’s ambassador to Niger, Sylvain Itte, has returned to Paris after weeks of tensions with the new military government in the West African country. Niger’s military leaders had told Itte to leave the country after overthrowing democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.
Despite a 48-hour ultimatum for him to return to France, he remained as Paris refused to comply or recognize the new military leaders. Itte had been in the post as ambassador to Niger for a year and was previously ambassador to Uruguay and Angola. French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the ambassador will leave Niger and French troops will withdraw from the country, with a full withdrawal expected by the end of the year. The military cooperation between the two nations is over, and thousands are protesting against the coup against Bazoum, the third such coup in the region in as many years.