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Macron steps up the rhetoric against the Niamey junta

Restoring ousted President Mohamed Bazoum to power has become a personal crusade for the French leader

President Emmanuel Macron has refused to bow to demands from the military junta in Niger that France's ambassador leave the country as he set out France's diplomatic priorities in Paris on 29 August.

During Macron's two hour annual speech to ambassadors in the Elysée Palace, he revealed that France's man in Niger, Sylvain Itte, was listening in from the capital Niamey, despite being given a 48 hour deadline to leave by the junta on 25 August.

'I think our policy is the right one. It's based on the courage of President Bazoum, and on the commitments of our ambassador on the ground who is remaining despite all the pressure, despite all the declarations made by the illegitimate authorities,' said Macron.

In another reference to the growing anti-francophone sentiment in the Sahel region, Macron spoke of the 'politics of resentment that feeds on reinvented or fantasised anti-colonialism in some cases, and on instrumentalised anti-Westernism in others.'

Elsewhere, Macron has talked up the need for 'a profound reform of global governance', including the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. 

In June he warned that unless the governance of the Bretton Woods institutions is revised to take account of the BRICS, its new members and developing countries, 'we will allow an alternative order to be created and we will move towards marginalising our own system'. His application to attend last week's BRICS summit in Johannesburg as an observer was rejected by the organisation.

Although the BRICS summit in South Africa last week did not see significant steps towards a common currency or payment system for the bloc, it has a nascent financial architecture, and its six new members, including Egypt and Ethiopia from Africa, will strengthen its diplomatic clout and economic clout (AC Vol 64 No 18, Beijing asserts global south leadership role).

Macron also called for 'boldness', in setting up 'new formats' for cooperation between Europeans and emerging countries, including India, Brazil and South Africa, and 'not to lock ourselves into existing formats'.

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