A Russian delegation led by the Deputy Minister of Defense arrived in Niamey to discuss with the military authorities, who came to power during a coup at the end of July, the latter announced on Monday December 4 on national radio.

This is the first official visit by a member of the Russian government to this country since the July 26 coup which disrupted diplomatic relations between Niger and its international partners.

The delegation led by the Russian Deputy Minister of Defense, Colonel General Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, was received on Monday by the head of the Nigerien military regime, General Abdourahamane Tiani. At the end of this meeting, the parties proceeded “to the signing of documents as part of the strengthening of military cooperation between the Republic of Niger and the Russian Federation”, indicated the Nigerien authorities.

The Alliance of Sahel States

Russian diplomacy finds itself in a favorable position in Niger while France, a privileged ally of the fallen regime, has become the target of the new authorities who have denounced military cooperation agreements and obtained the departure of its 1,500 soldiers deployed in this country in prey to jihadist violence.

This Russian delegation went on Sunday to Bamako in Mali, its main ally in the region, also governed by the military. The discussions notably concerned “development projects for Mali, in terms of renewable energy and nuclear energy”, as well as “questions linked to the supply of Mali with fertilizers, wheat and petroleum products”, said Alousséni Sanou, Minister of Economy and Finance of Mali, in a video published by the presidency.

He also mentioned the construction of a railway and a tram network, the creation of a regional airline, as well as research and mining projects.

The military regimes of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, the Sahelian countries most affected by jihadist violence and whose relations with France are execrable, have come together in recent weeks to form the Alliance of Sahel States. On Saturday, Burkina Faso and Niger announced, like Mali in 2022, their departure from the anti-jihadist organization G5 Sahel, favored by Western partners.