Washington has nearly 1,000 troops in the country, which has been the target of a military putsch and is its bridgehead in the fight against terrorism, as well as a key ally in West Africa in the face of Moscow and Beijing.
At a time when ECOWAS attempts to hold talks in Niger have ground to a halt, and France is out of the picture following its tackling of the putschists who have come to power, the United States is coming to the forefront of the diplomatic scene. On Monday, Under-Secretary of State Victoria Nuland was sent as an emissary to Niamey. While she was able to meet the coup plotters, the senior American official was refused access to President Bazoum, who was being held hostage, and to junta leader General Tiani. Discussions were “difficult“, she admitted at the end of a clearly sterile meeting.
Earlier on Monday, the US State Department had confirmed that it had made direct contact with the putschists. For his part, Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared that he was “in regular contact with leaders in Africa, with ECOWAS itself, but also with (its) partners in Europe, including France“. “We support ECOWAS’s efforts to restore constitutional order“said the US Secretary of State on RFI on Tuesday.