MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 09th August, 2023) US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has talked to ousted Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum by phone and urged the coup leaders to release the head of the government and his family.
"Spoke to Nigerien President Bazoum to express our continued efforts to find a peaceful resolution to the current constitutional crisis. The United States reiterates our call for the immediate release of him and his family," Blinken said on X, the platform formerly known as Twitter, on Tuesday.
Earlier that day, in an interview with French broadcaster RFI, Blinken avoided answering the question of whether US troops would leave Niger. White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby said in July that the US had 1,000 troops stationed in the African country, adding that the forces would not be used to evacuate foreign citizens.
On July 26, Niger's presidential guard removed Bazoum from power. The guard's commander, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, proclaimed himself the country's new leader. The caretaker National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland closed the country's borders, brushing aside security agreements with France, the country's former colonizer.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) gave coup leaders one week to reinstate Bazoum and restore order, hinting that it would resort to military intervention otherwise. Its ultimatum expired this past Sunday. Mali and Burkina Faso, also ECOWAS members, have rejected the intervention scenario in Niger, showing discord in the ranks of what is generally considered a pro-French regional alliance.