Monday, August 7, 2023

Niger: Junta Leaders Refuse Victoria Nuland's Request To Meet With The Ex-President

 From The Guardian, August 7:

Junta leaders in Niger refuse to let top US official meet ousted president
Victoria Nuland said commanders rejected calls to restore democracy and blocked her from meeting Mohamed Bazoum, who is under house arrest

Junta leaders in Niger have refused to let a senior US official meet the West African country’s ousted president and rejected her calls to restore democracy after last month’s coup.

Victoria Nuland, the US acting deputy secretary of state, described “frank and difficult” talks during a two-hour meeting in the Nigerien capital, Niamey, on Monday, as the rebellious commanders again refused to give in to international pressure to stand down.

Nuland told reporters that she met with officers including Brig Gen Moussa Salaou Barmou, who has been named the new military chief of staff. But the junta did not respond to her requests to meet Niger’s self-proclaimed new leader, Gen Abdourahamane Tiani – or the detained elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, who is under house arrest and claims he is being held hostage.

“These conversations were extremely frank and at times quite difficult,” Nuland told reporters by telephone as she prepared to fly out of Niamey.

Her comments came as the West African bloc, Ecowas, prepares to meet on Thursday after the coup leaders ignored a deadline to reinstate Bazoum – a move the bloc had earlier warned could lead it to authorise a military intervention.

Nuland described the mutinous officers as unreceptive to the US urging them to return the country to civilian rule.....