In the suspension of its military cooperation with the Gabonwhere around 400 military personnel are permanently encamped, the Franceafter the August 30 coup, according to French Defense Minister Sébastien Lecornou.
“As far as the military presence is concerned, these are soldiers who have been training and have always been with the Gabonese army. At this time, their activities are suspended, pending clarification of the political situation.”the minister clarified in an interview with the Le Figaro newspaper that was published in its online edition on Friday evening.
The French forces, called pre-positioned, guarantee the protection of French nationals and are ready to contribute to joint operations with forces of Gabon and neighboring states such as Cameroon, while also participating in trainings and trainings.
On Wednesday, military coup leaders announced an end to “the regime” in Gabon and placed the president, in power for 14 years, under house arrest immediately after announcing his victory in Saturday’s election.
Alongside, French defense minister appears to distinguish between military coups in Gabon and Nigerwhere the military has been holding the democratically elected president Mohamed Bazum prisoner since the end of July.
“France condemns all military coups (…) However, we cannot equate the situation in Niger, where the military overthrew a democratically elected president, with the one in Gabon, where the military’s motivation is precisely the non-compliance of the electoral law and the Constitution (…) I weigh my words”, however “there are doubts” about the elections in Gabon, Mr. Lecornou told Figaro.
Diplomatic bravado between Niger’s military regime and France continued on Friday, with Niamey denouncing “meddling” by Paris, which still does not recognize the junta.
While the Nigerian military has been demanding since Thursday that the police expel the French ambassador, the French defense minister stressed that “It is Niger’s responsibility to guarantee the security of the French embassy. This is international law and must be respected. As it is France’s responsibility to guarantee the security of the Niger embassy in Paris.”
Source: News Beast
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