France has announced the release of François Santoni, a French official that had been held by Niger security forces since July 7. The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the decision of the authorities in Niger and thanked them for the efforts that had been undertaken until the release of Santoni.
The security forces apprehended Santoni after he had been refused accreditation as a French diplomat. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in France immediately made an appeal for his release, sending a note to the Nigerien government.
After lengthy discussions with the Niger authorities, the French Foreign Ministry was finally able to secure Santoni’s release. He was handed over to French diplomats in the French Embassy in Niamey, the capital of Niger.
Speaking at a press conference, the Foreign Ministry in France said Santoni was now in a safe place and thanked the authorities in Niger for their cooperation in his release. Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian welcomed the decision and thanked the authorities for their efforts in the release of Santoni.
In a statement, le Drian said that the cooperation between France and Niger concerning the case of Santoni was a demonstration of the close relationship between the two countries and that France would continue to reaffirm this relationship.
The French government had been working closely with the Nigerien authorities to secure Santoni’s release since the time of his detention in July. This release now presents a strong signal that the good relationships between the two countries will continue in order to resolve current diplomatic issues.