« In a press conference held on Monday in Niamey, Niger’s newly appointed Prime Minister, Ali Mahamane Lamnine Zeine, addressed critical issues concerning the presence of French troops in the country and the nation’s pressing economic challenges.
Prime Minister Zeine began by discussing the status of French troops and ambassadors in Niger. He emphasised the government’s stance on the matter, stating that « you could see the mobilisation that there is; the government has already denounced the agreements which allowed them to be on our territory. They are in an illegal position. »
Zeine expressed confidence that ongoing discussions would lead to the swift withdrawal of French forces from the country. However, he expressed disappointment regarding the French ambassador’s conduct, noting that diplomatic attempts to resolve the issue had been rebuffed, describing the ambassador’s behaviour as « a behaviour of contempt. »
Regarding the security situation, Zeine commended Niger’s defence and security forces for their efforts in safeguarding the nation’s territory and the well-being of its citizens.
Turning his attention to the economic challenges facing Niger, Zeine revealed that the country faced a substantial debt burden. « Today we are at a stock of debts estimated at 5200 billion CFA Francs (7.92 billion euros) », he stated, outlining the composition of both external and internal debts.
The Prime Minister underscored the need to address the economic situation urgently and formulate strategies to mitigate the impact of this heavy debt load on Niger’s economy.
Anti-French sentiment has grown exponentially in Niger, with thousands of demonstrators demanding the withdrawal of French soldiers from its soil over the weekend. »