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Top US diplomat meets leaders of Niger military junta

Senior US diplomat, Victoria Nuland has met with senior leaders of the military junta in Niger.

The US State Department confirmed this on Monday.

Nuland, the acting deputy secretary of state, travelled to Niamey to meet with the armed forces’ new chief of staff, General Moussa Salaou Barmou, and three other members of the military junta.

She expressed Washington’s “grave concern regarding developments in Niger and our resolute commitment to supporting democracy and constitutional order,” U.S. State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said in a statement.

During the meeting Nuland outlined what was at stake if Niger did not “respect its own constitutional order,” Miller said.

“This includes the potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in economic and security support for the people of Niger,” she highlighted.

She described the more-than-two-hour conversation as “extremely frank and at times quite difficult” in a call with reporters.

Nuland’s request to meet with ousted and detained President Mohamed Bazoum was denied, she said.

“The United States continues to call for the immediate release of President Mohamed Bazoum, his family, and all those detained as part of the extra-constitutional attempt to seize power,” Miller said.

Nuland was also not able to see new self-declared ruler Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani.

Bazoum was ousted in a military coup on July 26.

Tchiani, the commander of Niger’s presidential guard, then claimed power as the country’s new ruler.

He and his group of officers suspended the constitution and dissolved all constitutional institutions.



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