On July 26, the democratically elected President of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, was detained by members of the Presidential Guard, who later that evening announced a government takeover. Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland traveled to Niger to express the United States’ grave concern regarding developments in Niger and resolute commitment to supporting democracy and constitutional order.
The United States continues to call for the immediate release of President Bazoum, his family, and all those detained as part of the extra-constitutional attempt to seize power.
Niger is the largest country in West Africa and is part of the region known as the Sahel - a swath of land that stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea. Niger has been a reliable counter-terrorism partner against various Islamist groups linked to either Islamic State or al-Qaeda. As such, Niger hosts French and US military bases to assist in the fight against terrorism.
Acting Deputy Secretary Nuland met with Nigerien civil society and separately with members of the group asserting power in Niger to explain what is at stake if Niger does not respect its own constitutional order. This includes the potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in economic and security support for the people of Niger.
The U.S. is required under law to cut foreign and military assistance to the Nigerien government if a formal coup designation is made. “That assistance will affect development aid to the government, security aid to the government. It’s a significant amount,” said State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller.
For now, “the United States has decided to pause certain assistance for the Government of Niger while the situation remains fluid,” said spokesperson Miller in a statement.
Acting Deputy Secretary Nuland underscored that the U.S. would remain in close contact with its Allies and partners, including the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS.
Secretary Blinken affirmed that the United States remains “committed to supporting the people of Niger to help them preserve their hard-earned democracy” and reiterated his called for the “immediate restoration of Niger’s democratically elected government.”