Home » Italy looks to resume dialogue with “de facto” Niger gov’t

Italy looks to resume dialogue with “de facto” Niger gov’t

FM Tajani noted that Rome is ready to resume bilateral cooperation with Niamey. The local junta still holds the Italian forces on the ground in high regard, despite its heightened rhetoric against other Western forces and its growing entente with Russia and Iran

The Rome-Niamey link is alive and well. On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani told the Senate that Italy is ready to restart bilateral cooperation with Niger. He highlighted that the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Riccardo Guariglia, and Francesco Paolo Figliuolo, head of the Inter-Forces Summit Operations Command, visited Niamey in early March. On that occasion, a “possible restart of bilateral cooperation was outlined.”

  •  “Withdrawing from the Sahel would make the region more hostile and certainly not more favourable to our strategic interests,” he stressed. “We reiterate the advisability of resuming dialogue with the de facto Niger authorities, a prospect on which the United States is also working.”

A crucial stage. Niger has long been a key centre for Western-led counterterrorism efforts in the region. In July 2023, a military junta led by General Abdourahamane Tiani took power. Italian military personnel have remained in the country as part of a bilateral support mission dubbed MISIN. However, the junta has driven out the French contingent, cut security pacts with the European Union, and recently ended a military agreement with the United States (although it’s unclear if it will lead to the withdrawal of US forces).

Space for autocracies. In the meantime, the junta has been exploring military cooperation with Russia and has engaged in talks with Iran (reportedly about a secret agreement on uranium, which Niger had historically supplied France with). Losing Niger to strategic rivals is the obvious threat underpinning FM Tajani’s words and highlighting the value of Rome’s ties with Niamey.

  • Among the issues that come with losing access to such a crucial area, a Russian-led security apparatus in Niger would entail a heightened risk of hybrid aggressions against Europe – including through migratory waves.

Subscribe to our newsletter