Niger Regime Chief Talks ‘Security Cooperation’ With Putin

Niger’s military ruler General Abdourahamane Tiani

The head of Niger’s military dictatorship General Abdourahamane Tiani spoke on Tuesday by telephone to Russian President Vladimir Putin about “strengthening security cooperation”, according to an official release.

The two countries had already agreed to boost military ties in January, when Niger Prime Minister Ali Lamine Zeine led a delegation to Moscow.

Niger, one of the world’s poorest countries, had previously been a frontline Western partner in combating Islamists in the Sahel, but since the elected president was deposed last year, it has embraced Russia as a nascent defense partner.

According to a Nigerien announcement broadcast on public radio, the two heads of state discussed enhancing security cooperation to address current threats.

They also talked about “projects for multi-sector and global strategic cooperation,” it added without explaining.

General Tiani, who has governed Niger since the July coup, hailed Putin for Russia’s “support” of the Sahel country and its fight for national sovereignty.

Last December, a Russian group visited Niger.

The United States still keeps about 1,000 troops in Niger, though movements have been restricted since the coup, and Washington has reduced aid to the administration.

A senior US team visited Niamey in mid-March to renew contact with the junta, but said they did not meet Tiani.

The new leadership has rejected military cooperation with the West and colonial links with France.

Previously, Niger served as a vital base for France’s military efforts to combat Islamist militancy in the Sahel region.

Niger and neighbours Mali and Burkina Faso announced the formation of a combined force to combat the three countries’ long-running terrorist rebellions earlier this month.

In January, they announced its desire to exit from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).



Written by PH

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