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Nuland Holds ‘Difficult’ Conversation with Niger’s Military Leaders

Aug. 8, 2023, 2022 (EIRNS)—None other than Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland appeared in Niger, where she held what she said were “difficult” discussions with Niger’s military leaders, in a special State Department briefing from Niamey, yesterday.

Nuland said he talks with armed forces chief of staff Moussa Salaou Barmou and three other members of the military junta. Nuland described, “I will say that these conversations were extremely frank and at times quite difficult because, again, we were pushing for a negotiated solution. It was not easy to get traction there.  They are quite firm in their view on how they want to proceed.... But again, it was difficult today, and I will be straight up about that.”

Nuland blustered that “their ideas do not comport with the constitution, and that will be difficult in terms of our relationship if that’s the path they take.” She pointed out “Obviously, we are at the stage where our assistance is paused.” If that was a threat, the military were not impressed, refusing her request to see President Mohamed Bazoum and she had to make do with a telephone discussion. She was also denied the request to meet with interim President Gen. Abdourahamane Tiani.

Her deployment follows a statement by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who told French broadcaster RFI that diplomacy was the preferred way to resolve the situation. And that is also the approach of the West African community of states, ECOWAS, according to Blinken.

One reason Nuland was unable to meet interim President Tiani was that he was meeting with more important people, delegations from Mali and Burkina Faso, who had come to pledge their support. The delegation was headed by Mali’s Minister of Territorial Administration Lt. Col. Abdoulaye Maïga. “Democracy Now!” quoted Maïga as clearly stating their concerns: “I would like to remind you that Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have been dealing for over 10 years with the negative socioeconomic, security, political and humanitarian consequences of NATO’s hazardous adventure in Libya. Of course, we ask ourselves: If it took us 10 years, how many years would it take us to get over another adventure of the same nature in Niger? We don’t know. Twenty years? Thirty years? Forty years? Fifty years? One thing is certain: [Mali] President Goïta and [Burkina Faso] President Traoré have clearly said, ‘No, no and no. We will not accept military intervention in Niger. They are coming for our survival.’ ”

In her special briefing, Nuland said of her goals: “The Secretary asked me to make this trip ... because we wanted to speak frankly to the people responsible to this challenge to the democratic order to see if we could try to resolve these issues diplomatically, if we could get some negotiations going, and also to make absolutely clear what is at stake in our relationship and the economic and other kinds of support that we will legally have to cut off if democracy is not restored.”

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