Niger suspends cooperation with international Francophone body

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Supporters of Niger's National Council of Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) display a French national flag with a x-mark on during a protest outside Niger and French airbase in Niamey on September 1, 2023 to demand the departure of the French army from Niger [AFP]

The Nigerien military government has disengaged from multiple foreign partners since the coup in July.

Niger has suspended all cooperation with the International Organisation of Francophone nations (OIF), its military leaders said, as it progressively severs ties with former colonial ruler France.

The 88-member body “has always been used by France as an instrument to defend French interests”, a spokesperson for Niger’s military government said on national television late on Sunday.

The military seized power in a coup in July which was strongly condemned by France and other Western allies. It soon kicked out French troops which had been helping to fight a decade-old armed rebellion in the West African country.

The OIF had already suspended most cooperation with Niger last week because of the coup but said it would maintain those programmes “directly benefiting civilian populations, and those contributing to the restoration of democracy”.

The organisation’s stated mission is to promote the French language, support peace and democracy, and encourage education and development in Francophone countries around the world, many of which are former French colonies.

“The government of Niger calls on the African people to decolonise their minds and promote their own national languages in accordance with the ideas of the founding fathers of Pan-Africanism,” said the government’s statement.

The government said in a separate statement on Sunday that it had not yet decided how long it would hold on to power, but that the length of the transition would be determined after an inclusive national dialogue. It did not say when the dialogue would take place.

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES

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