Last updated on September 11th, 2021 at 03:09 pm
The presence of French troops in the Sahel under the so-called Barkhane Operation happened on the “expressed request” of the leaders of the G5 Sahel states, President Emmanuel Macron has said by Assane Seydou
“I cannot accept to send our soldiers on the ground, in countries where this request is not clearly accepted and where they intervene in a framework that does not correspond to the dignity befitting them,” Mr. Macron told a press briefing flanked by his Nigerien counterpart, Mahamadou Issoufou in Niamey on Sunday.
Citing the example of Niger which, according to him, has shown consistency, the French president declared: “I expect the same clarity from all the leaders” of the other G5 Sahel countries, comprising, in addition to Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania and Chad.
“If a sovereign state in the region says that it does not need France or international forces on its soil, we don’t have to be there!” he emphasised.
Emmanuel Macron, who made a whistle stop visit to Niger, took the opportunity to pay tribute to the country’s 71 fallen soldiers in a recent attack blamed on terrorists.
“I wanted to come today and pay my last respects to your soldiers who died on December 10 in Inatès, and show the reverence we owe them, our solidarity with their families, your army and the whole nation,” Macron added.
President Issoufou Mahamadou hailed his French counterpart’s visit to Niger, stressing that his trip confirms Paris’s commitment to supporting his country’s fight against terrorism.