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Relations between US and Niger hits a new low

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Diplomatic and military relations between the United States and the West African nation of Niger hit a new low this weekend

Relations between US and Niger hits a new low

In a statement on state television, a spokesman for Niger’s junta said Saturday the U.S. military presence in the country is no longer justified.

The announcement followed high-level talks with U.S. diplomatic and military officials this week.

Niger plays a central role in the U.S. military’s operations in Africa’s Sahel region and is home to a major airbase.

The U.S. is concerned about the spread of jihadist violence in the region, where local groups have pledged allegiance to  and the Islamic State extremist groups.

In reading the statement, the junta’s spokesman, Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane, stopped short of saying U.S. forces should leave. He said Niger was suspending military cooperation with Washington and added that U.S. flights over the country’s territory in recent weeks were illegal.