The United States of America has delivered a clear message to the Niger junta, threatening a potential military intervention unless the nation’s military leaders restore constitutional order.
Victoria Nuland, the US acting Deputy Secretary of State, made this known during a press briefing on Tuesday in Niamey, the capital of Niger, after meeting with some leaders of the coup.
She met with General Moussa Salaou Barmou, a US-trained officer, and three of the colonels involved in the takeover. However, the coup’s top leader, former presidential guard head Abdourahamane Tiani, was absent.
She noted, “…There is still a lot of motion here on many sides with regard to where the governance situation will go.
“So we will be watching that closely and there are a number of regional meetings coming up and consultations with allies and partners that we need to make.
“So we’ll be watching the situation, but we understand our legal responsibilities and I explained those very clearly to the guys (Niger junta) who were responsible for this and that it is not our desire to go there, but they may push us to that point, and we asked them to be prudent in that regard and to hear our offer to try to work with them to solve this diplomatically and return to constitutional order.”
Nuland further noted that President Joe Bden has been in touch with President Tinubu, the ECOWAS Chairman as well as many other European allies.
“He’s also been in regular touch with President Tinubu of Nigeria, who is currently head of ECOWAS, with AU Chairperson Faki, and with a number of European allies with whom we work in Niger, particularly on counterterrorism.
“And all of this has been rooted in our shared values, including the sense of democracy, which was why it was so difficult, and remains difficult, to see the current challenge to the democratic order which began on July 26,” she stressed.
In other developments, the military leaders had on Monday appointed former finance minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine as the new prime minister and Habibou Assoumane as the new commander of the presidential guard.
ECOWAS leaders said they would meet later this week to discuss the next line of action after the junta defied the ultimatum to reinstate President Bazoum while its mutinous soldiers closed the country’s airspace and accused foreign powers of preparing an attack. The meeting was scheduled for Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.