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Niger Will Not Bow to Pressure; U.S. Orders Partial Embassy Evacuation

Aug. 3, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—In a national televised address on Aug. 2, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani, current military leader of Niger, said that his country will not yield to international pressure to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum. General Tchiani declared that the sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are illegal and inhumane. “Nothing will hamper the interim period and the preservation of national sovereignty,” he said. “We are facing external interference, which refuses to recognize our coming to power.”

His statement was a response to ECOWAS’ threat on July 30 to impose economic and trade sanctions against Niger, as stated at its summit in Abuja, Nigeria. In line with ECOWAS’ decision, Nigeria cut power supplies to Niger on Aug. 1. The ECOWAS deadline is Aug. 7.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has ordered a partial evacuation of staff and families from its embassy in Niger. According to a statement by the State Department, the decision was made out of “an abundance of caution.” The State Department’s USAID has pulled out its staff. French nationals have been evacuated in recent days.

Also on Aug. 2, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a phone discussion with the deposed Niger President Bazoum, but, other than his offer continued U.S. support, the content of the talks was not made public. The U.S. has not officially called the military takeover a “coup,” since that would trigger cutting all security cooperation, which would put into question whether U.S. troops could remain in the country.

Moreover, the World Bank suspended disbursements to Niger, on Aug. 2, except for private-sector partnerships.

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