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France suspends military cooperation with Niger until further notice

A handout photograph released by French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs (MEAE) shows a French soldier standing   -  
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A spokesman for the French military on Wednesday said that any cooperation with Niger in the fields of development and financial aid and military partnerships had been suspended until further notice.

His comments came as nations across the world respond to the military coup in the country which saw soldiers detain democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum and seized power.

Col. Pierre Gaudilliere said that all military agreements had been made with the democratically elected authorities in Niger and had been suspended while these authorities were not in power.

Gaudilliere described the partnerships as particularly successful in combating terrorism and enabling farmers harassed by terrorist groups to resume their activities, the primary mission of France’s deployment.

He added they also supported the local population, helping with projects such as well digging for water access, building schools and providing food or water distribution.

The West African regional bloc ECOWAS has threatened to use force to restore Bazoum to power, but the military-ruled governments of two of Niger's neighbours have sided with the coup leaders and warned that they would consider any intervention an act of war.

A two-day meeting of defence chiefs of the 15-member bloc opened on Wednesday in Nigeria's capital to discuss next steps.

Gaudilliere said French officials would be following the talks "very closely".

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