French military activities in the Sahel area, according to Macron, have safeguarded the existence of the African nations, and without them, “there would probably no longer be a Mali… I doubt Niger would still exist, and there would also be Burkina Faso.
In an interview with the French journal Le Point, Macron made reference to the former colonial power’s operations in the middle of the 2000s, Operations Serval and Barkhane, according to NAN.
After Niger’s military authorities severed connections with the former colonial state, French troops were sent from Mali to Niger.
He said that the operations were carried out “at the request of African states” and that they were “successful” at a time when his policy is under fire due to the loss of his sole surviving partner, Niger, and growing anti-African sentiment.
Even though it is “tragic for the states concerned,” he said, and even though these operations reflect France’s “honor” and “responsibility,” France could no longer be involved “when there is a coup d’état, and the priority of the new regimes is not to fight terrorism.”
In the interview, Macron defended the administration’s partnership-driven approach to policy in the Sahel rather than a security-first approach.
France refuses to acknowledge coup leader General Abdurahman Tchiani’s announcement that all military deals between Niger and France are terminated, and more than a thousand French troops remain stationed at a military base there.