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NIGER’S ruling regime on Monday scrapped two key military agreements that the west African nation signed with the European Union to help fight the violence in Africa’s Sahel region.
This came as the country’s army leaders and a senior Russian defence official discussed deepening military co-operation.
Before the coup that deposed the country’s president Mohamed Bazoum, Niger had been the West’s last major security partner in the Sahel, the vast region south of the Sahara Desert that Islamist extremist groups have turned into the global terror hot spot.
Niger’s Foreign Affairs Ministry said that the government has decided to “withdraw the privileges and immunities granted” under the EU Military Partnership Mission in Niger that was launched in February and consequently “has no legal obligation” related to that partnership.
It also dismissed the EU Civilian Capacity-Building Mission established in 2012 to strengthen Niger’s internal security sector, effectively revoking its approval for the missions.
On Sunday, a Russian delegation led by Russia’s Deputy Minister of Defence Lounous-Bek Evkourov met with Niger’s leader General Abdourahmane Tchiani and Minister of State for National Defence Salifou Mody.
In a statement Niger’s defence ministry said: “At the centre of the discussions is the strengthening of co-operation between the two countries in the field of defence.”
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