EU representative denied access to French embassy in Niger
On Thursday, September 7, 2023, a noteworthy incident occurred at the French embassy in Niger, as it became blockaded. This action drew strong protest from the European Union, following the prevention of their ambassador, Salvador Pinto da França, from accessing the French embassy situated in Niamey, the capital of Niger.
Nabila Massrali, the spokesperson for the European Union, expressed disappointment and condemnation regarding the restrictions on the European ambassador’s freedom of movement. According to Massrali, these obstacles violated the principles outlined in the Vienna Convention of 1961. She asserted that the European Union ambassador had been duly accredited and should be able to carry out his mission in full alignment with the aforementioned convention.
The blockade of the French embassy was instigated by the military junta in Niger, who had ordered the arrest and expulsion of French Ambassador Sylvain Itté. Despite the expulsion order, Sylvain Itté has refused to leave his post. This directive was issued by the junta on August 26, retaliating against Paris’ refusal to acknowledge coup leader Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani and their insistence on recognizing Mohamed Bazoum, the ousted President, as Niger’s legitimate leader.
The European Union has labeled this expulsion order as a “new provocation,” deeming it unproductive in finding a diplomatic resolution to the ongoing crisis.