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Niger’s military government revoked an agreement that allowed United States military personnel and civilian staff to operate in the country, the latest move by the junta which has severed ties with other Western partners following last year’s coup, the Guardian reported.

On Saturday, junta spokesman Col. Amadou Abdramane announced the ending of the agreement “with immediate effect,” following a meeting last week between the Nigerien military government and a US delegation.

Abdramane said the discussions revolved around the sub-Saharan country’s military transition, bilateral cooperation and Niger’s choice of partners in fighting Islamic insurgents in the Sahel.

He accused the US delegation of not following diplomatic protocol, as well as denying the “sovereign Nigerien people the right to choose their partners and types of partnerships capable of truly helping them fight against terrorism.”

While he stopped short of demanding the removal of US forces, he said their presence is “illegal and violates all constitutional rules.”

As of 2023, Washington has about 1,100 troops in Niger, where the US military operates from two bases, including a $110-million drone base – known as Air Base 201 – in the country’s central regions.

Since 2018, the base has been used to target Islamic State fighters and militants from an al Qaeda affiliate in the Sahel region. But the US military has suspended operations from the base since the July 2023 coup.

Following the takeover, the junta has severed security ties with France and other European partners and recently signed a military agreement with Russia.

Analysts told Bloomberg that revoking the agreement with Washington would eventually spell the end of the US presence in Niger, as well as halt “all hopes for the West to save the relationship with the new military rulers.”

They added that one chief concern of the US was to prevent Russia “from gaining a foothold” in Niger and in other West African nations that have experienced coups in recent years, including Mali and Burkina Faso.

Russian troops are already present in Mali and have been recently deployed in Burkina Faso.

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