Niger’s junta ordered the French ambassador in Niamey on Friday to leave the country within 48 hours, according to the Nigerien Foreign Ministry.
In a statement published by state-run broadcaster ORTN, the Nigerien Foreign Ministry said the ambassador Sylvain Itte had refused to attend a meeting scheduled for Friday with the country’s foreign minister.
The ministry said Nigerien authorities had withdrawn Itte’s credentials in light of the refusal, also citing “other actions by the French government that are against Niger’s interest.”
“France has taken note of the putschists’ request,” the French Foreign Ministry told AFP late Friday.
“The putschists do not have the authority to make this demand, the ambassador’s approval comes only from the legitimate, elected Nigerien authorities” the ministry said.
Separately, the US State Department said in a statement late Friday it was told by Niger’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs there were “images of letters circulating on the internet calling for the departure of certain American diplomatic personnel.”
However, it said these “were not issued by the ministry,” and that “no such request has been made to the US government.”