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Niger coup: France backs military action plan to stop coup in Niger

France says it supports West African leaders' plan to reverse the military coup in Niger. The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) previously announced that a plan for military action is ready if democracy is not restored in Niger on Sunday.

France, the colonial power in Niger until 1960, did not say whether it would also provide military support in the event of a military intervention by Ecowas in Niger. "The future of Niger and the stability of the entire region are at stake," French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said on Saturday after meeting Niger's ousted Prime Minister Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou in Paris. Mahamadou was not in Niger when the military seized power there at the end of July and imprisoned President Mohamed Bazoum.

On Thursday, the junta in Niger announced that it would end military cooperation with France. France has more than 1,000 troops in Niger who help fight groups linked to al-Qaeda and Islamic State in the Sahel region. Minister Colonna told the French channel RFI on Saturday that the soldiers will nevertheless remain in Niger for the time being.

According to the minister, the stationing of the soldiers has been agreed upon with the 'legitimate Nigerien authorities', who have been expelled by the coup plotters. The deposed government is the only one recognised by France, Colonna said. According to Colonna, the situation of the French soldiers who are still in the African country is currently calm.

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