French military denies allegations of request to fly over Algerian airspace

French military denies allegations of request to fly over Algerian airspace

French military spokesperson praises Algeria's 'exemplary' support for repatriation of French nationals from Niger

By Feiza Ben Mohamed

NICE, France (AA) – The French military on Wednesday denied allegations that it had asked Algeria for permission to fly over its airspace.

France never requested authorization, so there was no refusal from the Algerian side, a spokesperson for the French joint chief of Staff told Anadolu.

The spokesperson, who declined to be identified, added that Algiers helped Paris with evacuation operations from Niger after the July 26 military intervention.

Algiers "has helped Paris in an exemplary way to repatriate French nationals from Niger, by offering transit from Algiers," the spokesperson explained.

"The French armed forces interact as usual with our Algerian partners," said the spokesperson, denying allegations of tensions after developments in Niger, which borders Algeria, a onetime French colony.

Earlier this week, Algerian public radio claimed that the country refused a request from France to fly over its airspace.

Paris has not voiced willingness to take part in a military operation in Niger, a former colony where some 1,000-1,500 French troops are stationed, but the French Foreign Ministry has repeatedly voiced support for the stance of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has called up a standby force for possible intervention.

Niger was plunged into turmoil on July 26 when Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, a former commander of the presidential guard, led a military intervention that ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

France launched an operation to evacuate its citizens as well as other nationals from Niamey.

ECOWAS last week demanded that the military restore constitutional order in Niger “in order to concentrate on the security of the country, which has become increasingly fragile” since Bazoum was ousted.

On Tuesday, the African Union said it has suspended Niger from all its activities until the army cedes power.

* Writing by Nur Asena Erturk in Ankara


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