France's Macron condemns coup attempt in Niger

France's Macron condemns coup attempt in Niger

'This coup d'etat is completely illegitimate and deeply dangerous to Nigeriens, Niger, and for the entire region,' says president

By Nur Asena Erturk

ANKARA (AA) – The French president on Friday condemned the coup attempt in Niger, calling for President Mohamed Bazoum's release and the restoration of constitutional order.

"France absolutely condemns this military coup d'etat against a democratically elected leader," Emmanuel Macron said at a joint news conference with Papua New Guinean Prime Minister James Marape in the capital Port Moresby, which was streamed live on digital platforms.

"This coup d'etat is completely illegitimate and deeply dangerous to Nigeriens, Niger, and for the entire region," Macron said.

He added: "We call for the liberation of President Bazoum and the restoration of the constitutional order. We also support the regional organizations, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in particular, in their further decisions, mediation efforts, condemnation or sanctions against the putschists (…)."

Earlier this week, a group of soldiers calling themselves the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Country (CNSP) delivered a statement on Nigerien state television shortly after detaining Bazoum, saying they took the step due to the “deteriorating security situation and bad governance.”

Bazoum was elected in 2021 in Niger’s first democratic power transition since it gained independence from French colonial rule in 1960.

- France's Indo-Pacific strategy

Macron said France is seeking equal partnerships with Indo-Pacific countries.

"Our aim is not to compete with China or the US in the region, because we can have ambitions while remaining coherent," he stressed.

In this context, he recalled that France already has a presence in the region through New Caledonia, French Polynesia, Reunion Island, and Mayotte Island.

Macron took up a visit to Oceania this week, where he denounced "new imperialism" in the region on Thursday, in the South Pacific nation of Vanuatu.

He accused great powers of threatening the region, with foreign ships fishing illegally, loans with harsh conditions that are "literally strangling development," unfair trade practices, and a "growing interference in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly in Oceania."

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