The wave of coups d’états sweeping Africa is fueling a rift between the world’s “oldest allies”: France and the U.S.
The toppling in late July of Niger’s democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, is being met with starkly totally different responses from Paris and Washington that would have main ramifications for Africa as an entire. French President Emmanuel Macron is brazenly backing calls by the West African regional bloc ECOWAS to doubtlessly use army power to revive Bazoum and permit France to keep up 1,500 troops in its former colony. The Biden administration, conversely, has dispatched a number of envoys to Niger’s capital of Niamey in current weeks, together with a brand new ambassador, to interact the junta and search a diplomatic answer, citing the regional instability army operations may deliver.
The White Home, in contrast to France, has refused to name the army intervention in Niger a “coup” and on Friday once more mentioned it believed there was nonetheless a diplomatic path ahead. The administration’s assertion got here simply two days after troopers took energy in one other former French colony, Gabon — the eighth coup in Central and West Africa since 2020.
“We’re nonetheless pursuing what we imagine to be doubtlessly viable diplomatic options right here to see that democratic establishments are revered in each nations,” White Home Nationwide Safety Council spokesman John Kirby mentioned.
Macron, in the meantime, is engaged in a rising confrontation with Niger’s mutineers that’s unnerving Washington. Niamey’s junta is looking for to expel each France’s army contingent there and its ambassador, each actions that would draw a French response. “I communicate every single day to President Bazoum. We help him,” Macron mentioned on Friday. “We don’t acknowledge those that carried out the putsch. The choices we are going to take, no matter they could be, shall be based mostly upon exchanges with Bazoum.”
The French chief additionally appeared to belittle Niger and different former French colonies final week throughout speeches and media appearances. He informed a French journal that Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger all would have been overrun by Islamist militants if Paris didn’t deploy counter-terrorism troops there in current a long time. With out France’s army operations within the Sahel area “there would most likely now not be a Mali … Burkina Faso, and I’m unsure there would nonetheless be Niger,” he mentioned.