Niger suspends military cooperation with US


Al Jazeera :
Niger has suspended its military agreement with the United States “with immediate effect”, according to the ruling military spokesman Colonel Amadou Abdramane, in a blow to US security interests in the region.
The pact allowed US military personnel and civilian defence staff to operate from Niger, which plays a central role in the US military’s operations in Africa’s Sahel region and is home to a major airbase.
The decision, announced on Saturday, came after senior US officials – led by Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Molly Phee and US Africa Command head General Michael Langley – visited the West African country earlier this week to discuss democratic transition.
Speaking on local television, Abdramane said the US delegation did not follow diplomatic protocol, and that Niger was not informed about the composition of the delegation, the date of its arrival or the agenda.
“Niger regrets the intention of the American delegation to deny the sovereign Nigerien people the right to choose their partners and types of partnerships capable of truly helping them fight against terrorism,” Abdramane said.
The US military had some 650 personnel working in Niger in December, according to a White House report to Congress. The US military operates a major airbase in the Niger city of Agadez, some 920km (572 miles) from the capital of Niamey, using it for manned and unmanned surveillance flights and other operations.