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The United States has agreed with Niger to withdraw its military forces from the African nation by September 15, with the US Defense Department and the Nigerien Ministry of National Defense confirming the agreement. This deadline gives the US four months to draw down fewer than 1,000 troops and their equipment, including drones and other assets, which remain in the country. In March, Niger’s military government announced the end of an accord with the US that allowed military personnel and civilian staff from the Department of Defense to operate in the country.

Negotiations between the US delegation, led by Chris Meier, and the ruling military junta in Niger last week led to an agreement for the secure withdrawal of US forces and clearances for military flights. Flight clearances had been a sticking point in the negotiations, with US troops who have left Niger previously taking commercial flights. The remaining troops in Niger are now focused on drawing down US personnel and equipment. The joint statement from both delegations confirmed guarantees of protection and security for American forces during their withdrawal, as well as procedures to facilitate the entry and exit of US personnel.

The deteriorating relationship between the US and the ruling military junta in Niger following the coup in July led to the decision to withdraw US forces. The Biden administration had called for a return to free and fair elections, but the military junta instead began partnering more with Russia, whose forces are now operating at the same base from which US forces are withdrawing. The US and Niger have expressed their commitment to continue working together on areas of common interest, despite this decision to withdraw American forces.

Both the US and Niger will continue ongoing diplomatic dialogue to define the future of their bilateral relations. The joint statement emphasized that the two countries remain committed to working together in areas of mutual interest. The delegation from the US, led by the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict, and the Nigerien delegation led by the chief of staff of the Nigerian army, established procedures for the withdrawal process, including overflight and landing clearances for military flights. This agreement marks the planned withdrawal of American military forces from Niger by September 15.

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