Withdrawal Agreement: US Troops to Leave Niger by September

World | May 20, 2024, Monday // 10:02
Bulgaria: Withdrawal Agreement: US Troops to Leave Niger by September

The US Defence Department and the Nigerien Ministry of National Defence have reportedly reached an agreement for the withdrawal of US military forces from Niger by September 15, as per a CNN report. This newly established deadline allows for a four-month period for the drawdown of fewer than 1,000 troops, along with their equipment, including MQ-9 Reaper drones and other assets, from the African nation.

In March, Niger's military government announced the termination of an agreement with the US that permitted military personnel and civilian staff from the Department of Defence to operate within the country. Negotiations between a US delegation and Niger's ruling military junta aimed to secure the withdrawal of US forces and clearances for military flights, with flight permissions being a significant point of contention.

US troops who have previously departed Niger reportedly utilized commercial flights, with the remaining personnel tasked with overseeing the withdrawal process and the removal of equipment from the country. The US delegation, led by Chris Meier, Assistant Secretary of Defence for Special Operations and Low-Intensity Conflict, engaged in discussions with Nigerien counterparts, headed by Col.-Maj. Mamane Sani Kiaou, Chief of Staff of the Nigerian army.

A joint statement released following the negotiations affirmed guarantees of protection and security for American forces during their withdrawal, outlining procedures to facilitate the entry and exit of US personnel, including flight clearances for military operations. The decision for withdrawal stemmed from growing discord between the US and Niger's ruling military junta since the coup last July. Despite calls from the Biden administration for a return to free and fair elections, the military junta turned to closer ties with Russia, whose forces are now stationed at the same base where US forces are withdrawing.

The US and Niger expressed their commitment to ongoing diplomatic dialogue and collaboration on areas of mutual interest, emphasizing the need to define the future of their bilateral relations, as stated in the joint statement.

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Tags: US, Niger, troops, military

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