President of France, Emmanuel Macron says the Country’s envoy to Niger is living like a hostage in the French embassy and accused military rulers of blocking food deliveries to the mission.
Addressing Reporters in the eastern town of Semur-en-Auxois, Macron said,” As we speak, we have an ambassador and diplomatic staff who are literally being held hostage in the French embassy.
Macron said the envoy “cannot go out, he is persona non grata and he is being refused food”.
Asked whether France would consider bringing him home, Macron said: “I will do whatever we agree with President Bazoum because he is the legitimate authority and I speak with him every day.”
Niger’s military leaders told French ambassador Sylvain Itte he had to leave the country after they overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.
But a 48-hour ultimatum for him to leave, issued in August, passed with him still in place as the French government refused to comply, or to recognise the military regime as legitimate.
Macron has for weeks rejected the call to remove the French ambassador, a stance backed by the EU which has described the demand as “a provocation”.
France keeps about 1,500 soldiers in Niger, and said earlier this month that any redeployment could only be negotiated with Bazoum.
The country’s new leaders have torn up military cooperation agreements with France and asked the troops to leave quickly.
EU foreign affairs spokeswoman Nabila Massrali last month, said like France, the EU does not recognise the authorities that seized power in Niger.