The embassy employees and the country’s envoy to Niger are “literally” living like hostages there, according to French President Emmanuel Macron.Read full article
Macron claimed that ambassador Sylvain Itte continues to be persona non grata and charged the Niger junta of obstructing food deliveries to the consulate, where the diplomatic personnel is forced to endure appalling living circumstances.
“As we speak, we have an ambassador and diplomatic staff who are literally being held hostage in the French embassy,” Macron told reporters during a visit to Burgundy.
“They are preventing food deliveries. He is eating military rations,” he added.
When asked whether his government had any plans to have Itte return home, Macron responded, “I will do whatever we agree with President Bazoum because he is the legitimate authority and I speak with him every day.”
Itte was instructed to leave the nation as soon as possible by the military coup that deposed President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26. The French government, however, refused to comply and to recognise the military dictatorship as legitimate even after the 48-hour deadline had passed.
The EU supports Macron’s position and has referred to the demand to expel the French ambassador as “provocation.” Macron has been refusing the urge to do so for weeks.
According to EU spokeswoman for foreign affairs Nabila Massrali last month, the EU, like France, “does not recognise” the government that seized control of Niger.
The ambassador “is working” in the consulate, according to Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna, and would remain there for as long as his country required.
According to Colonna and his team’s contacts, “he is very useful for us,” according to French media sources.
Bazoum was detained at the presidency on July 26 by members of his guard, which led to his overthrow. General Abdourahamane Tiani was appointed as the new leader of the state after the military junta took control.
ECOWAS, the West African bloc, has attempted to engage with the junta but has been unsuccessful.