July 20, 2024

Niger: US expresses concerns over plan to prosecute Bazoum, commends Tinubu-led ECOWAS

The United States says it is shocked by the decision to prosecute the deposed president of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, for high treason by the junta who removed him from power.

State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters during a daily press briefing that Washington is incredibly dismayed by reports that President Bazoum’s unjust detention has gone even a step further.

“This action is completely unwarranted and unjustified and, candidly, it will not contribute to a peaceful resolution of this crisis,” he said

Niger’s military administration led by General Abdourahmane Tchiani announced that it will prosecute the deposed leader for “high treason” and undermining the country’s “internal and external security.”

Asked about a recent announcement by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regarding the developments in Niger, Patel said: “ECOWAS has been also very clear, and very clear publicly, that military intervention should be a last resort – something that we agree with — and we continue to be focused on finding a diplomatic solution and are in close contact with ECOWAS and their leadership on this.”

In a related development, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a phone call with Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Monday.

“The Secretary commended President Tinubu’s leadership of the Economic Community of West African States Second Extraordinary Summit on the situation in the Republic of Niger,” the statement said.

Blinken emphasised the importance of “maintaining pressure” on the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Country (CNSP) to “restore constitutional order and to see President Mohamed Bazoum and his family released,” according to Miller.

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