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US begins talks on withdrawal of troops from Niger

French troops begin withdrawal from Niger: French military
Source: Video Screenshot

The United States has begun discussions with Niger on withdrawing the more than 1,000 American personnel in the country, which has been a key base for regional counter-terrorism operations, the Pentagon said Monday.

Niger’s government — a military junta that ousted the country’s president last year — said in March that it was ending a military cooperation agreement with Washington, which agreed to remove its troops last week and said it would send a delegation to Niamey within days.

“We can confirm the beginning of discussions between the US and Niger for the orderly withdrawal of US forces from the country,” Pentagon spokesman Major General Pat Ryder told journalists.

The Defense Department “is providing a small delegation from the Pentagon and US Africa Command to participate in the discussions,” Ryder said.

There have not yet been any changes to troop levels in Niger, a linchpin in the US and French strategy to combat jihadists in West Africa and the location of a $100 million American drone base.

Ryder said the United States will “continue to explore options on how we can ensure that we’re able to continue to address potential terrorist threats” in the wake of the withdrawal.

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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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