Niger’s ruling junta has decided to close its airspace to all French aircraft. This decision not only affects French military aircraft but also has implications for commercial flights, including those operated by Air France. The move comes as relations between Niger and France, its former colonizer, have deteriorated in the aftermath of the recent coup.
The Nigerien junta’s decision to close its airspace to French aircraft represents a further escalation in the diplomatic tensions between the two nations. While Air France has stated that it did not fly over Niger’s airspace, this move highlights the strained relations between Niger and its former colonial ruler.
Airspace Open for Commercial Flights
Despite the closure to French aircraft, the junta has emphasized that Niger’s airspace remains open to all national and international commercial flights. It’s worth noting that the airspace had been previously closed for a month following the coup in late July, a move seen as an effort to prevent foreign intervention. However, on September 4, the junta decided to reopen the airspace to commercial traffic.
The coup in Niger has strained relations between the country and France. The French government has not recognized the new government installed after the coup, leading to a diplomatic standoff. Niger has accused Paris of exacerbating unrest in the country, partly due to the continued presence of approximately 1,500 French soldiers. In response to this tension, Niger ordered the French ambassador to leave the country, but the ambassador has so far refused to comply with this directive.