A senior US diplomat has met with Niger’s military junta in an attempt to resolve the political crisis that erupted after last week’s coup. Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said the talks were “extremely frank and at times quite difficult” and that the US offered its help to restore the constitutional order.
Nuland said she met with the new military chief of staff, Brigadier General Moussa Salaou Barmou, but not with the self-proclaimed leader of the coup, General Abdourahamane Tchiani, or with the ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum.
She said the coup leaders refused to let her see Bazoum, who is under “virtual house arrest” and has not been seen in public since his detention.
The US has suspended security cooperation and aid payments to Niger, a key ally in the fight against Islamist militants in the region. Nuland also expressed concern over reports that the junta had sought assistance from Russia’s Wagner mercenary group, saying it would pose a risk to Niger’s sovereignty.