Niger’s military administration has announced that it ordered only the French ambassador to leave the country, not the German, US, or Nigerian envoys.
In a statement released late Friday, the ministry dismissed widely circulated reports indicating that the German, US and Nigerian envoys had been effectively expelled, specifying that “only the French ambassador in Niger is declared persona non grata.”
Niger’s military administration on Friday gave the French Ambassador Sylvain Itte 48 hours to leave the country, accusing him of refusing to respond to an invitation to meet Niger’s foreign minister.
A ministry statement said that “Niger does not need authorization or an interpretation of the Vienna Convention of 1961” to order the ambassador’s expulsion within 24 hours.
The French Foreign Ministry rejected the move, saying the military administration does not have the authority to expel the ambassador, according to French media.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna sent an Aug. 8 note to express solidarity with Nigerien Ambassador in Paris Aichatou Boulama Kane, who refused to leave her position after the military administration took power.
Niger was plunged into uncertainty on July 26 when Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, a former commander of the presidential guard, led a military intervention that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.