U.S. Keen on Resuming Cooperation with Niger

Dec 14, 2023 | News, Politics | 0 comments

The United States has expressed its readiness to resume cooperation with Niger, provided that the military regime, which seized power in a coup in July, commits to a brief and credible transition. The U.S. Deputy Secretary of State for African Affairs visited Niamey and held discussions with Nigerien officials, including Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, who was appointed by the military.

The U.S. emphasised the need for the military regime to announce a clear timeline for a rapid and credible transition leading to the establishment of a democratically elected government. Cooperation between the U.S. and Niger was suspended following the coup that ousted elected President Mohamed Bazoum.

The military regime in Niger has proposed a maximum three-year transition period before returning power to civilians, with the duration to be determined through a national dialogue. The U.S. Deputy Secretary of State stated that cooperation could be resumed if the military regime took the necessary steps outlined during the discussions.

The fate of former President Mohamed Bazoum was also addressed, with both parties indicating a willingness to reach a satisfactory solution for him, his family, and members of his government. Following the coup, Bazoum has been confined to his residence, and several former dignitaries have either been arrested or fled the country.

The U.S. diplomat participated in an Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) summit in Abuja, where the regional organisation maintained economic and financial sanctions on Niger. The easing of sanctions is contingent on a notably short transition, according to ECOWAS resolutions.

Encouraging the military regime to respond positively to ECOWAS negotiation offers, the U.S. emphasised its support for the resolutions of the regional organisation. The new U.S. ambassador to Niger is set to present credentials soon, marking a step towards normalising diplomatic relations between the two countries.