Algeria declines French overflight for military operation in Niger

Algeria has declined a French request for airspace access for a military operation in Niger, state radio reported on Monday night.

Algeria rejects foreign military intervention in Niger and instead supports diplomatic efforts to reinstate constitutional order, as stated by state radio.

France maintains around 1,500 troops in Niger, stationed prior to last month’s coup. Although it remains uncertain which military operation Algeria was addressing, France has not declared any intention to militarily intervene to overturn the military seizure of power.

Last week, West Africa’s primary regional organization, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), announced the establishment of an undisclosed “D-Day” for a potential military intervention if diplomatic endeavors prove ineffective.

In a statement on Tuesday, the African Union’s Peace and Security Council declared that Niger had been promptly suspended from all African Union engagements.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune expressed apprehensions about a potential armed reaction earlier this month, emphasizing that “a military intervention could ignite the whole Sahel region and Algeria will not use force with its neighbours”.

The North African nation is concerned about potential consequences, including a surge of migrants entering its territory, as stated by a government source familiar with the matter, speaking to media.

Amidst a series of coups in the Sahel region since 2020, France’s military presence in West Africa has grown progressively uncertain.

Its troops have been expelled from Mali and Burkina Faso, and anti-French sentiment has swelled in the streets of Niger’s capital, Niamey, following the July 26 coup. Concurrently, Russian influence in the region has expanded.

Algeria has maintained challenging ties with France, its former colonial overseer, engaging in disagreements over Sahel security, regional matters, historical conflicts, French media portrayal of Algeria, and human rights concerns.

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