NIGER Republic leader Abdourahmane Tchiani’s push for the country’s total emancipation from Western influence is gaining momentum as the United States withdraws its troops from the country.

The decision was reached through a collaboration between U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell and the leadership of Niger.

A military agreement allowing U.S. army personnel and civilian staff to be present on Niger’s soil was revoked in March by the Niger leadership.

Last year, slightly over 1,000 U.S. troops were stationed in Niger, where they operated from two bases, including Air Base 201 near Agadez in central Niger, which served as a drone base. Over $100 million was spent on building this base. It has been instrumental in targeting al Qaeda and Islamic State militants in the Sahel since 2018. However, last year saw Niger’s army seize power in a coup. Niger had been a significant security partner of both the U.S. and France until then.

Nonetheless, Niger’s new authorities, along with neighbouring juntas in Mali and Burkina Faso, terminated military agreements with Western allies, exited the regional political and economic bloc ECOWAS and fostered closer relations with Russia.

Conversations are expected to discuss troop drawdown in the coming days, despite the impact on diplomatic and economic relationships between the U.S. and Niger.

The US warned Niger about ties with Russia and Iran before the military accord termination, and recently, Russian military personnel arrived to train soldiers and establish an air defense system.

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