US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland paid a visit to Niger on August 7. The politician talked with representatives of the military junta that seized power in the country and toppled President Mohamed Bazoum. During the meeting, Nuland told the rebels that Washington would completely refuse to support Niger.
On July 26, the head of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum, was arrested by his own guards.
On July 27, the rebels officially announced the transfer of power to the National Council for the Defence of the Motherland. They also closed the borders, suspended the constitution and prohibited the activities of all political institutions.
On July 28, Commander of the Presidential Guard, General Abdourahamane Tiani, delivered his first video address in which he called himself the head of the National Council for the Defense of the Motherland. He urged Niger's partners to refrain from interfering in what was happening in the country and attributed the rebels' actions to the fight against the "embezzlement of public funds, impunity, corruption in all its forms and nepotism."
The United Nations and most countries of the world, including Russia, condemned the coup in Niger.
On Monday, August 7, the National Council for the Defense of the Motherland appointed economist and former Finance Minister Lamine Zeine Ali Mahaman the new Prime Minister of Niger.
US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland arrived in Niger On August 7. She told reporters that she met with General Moussa Salaou Barmou and three colonels, with whom she had extremely frank and complicated discussions.
“I hope they will keep the door open to diplomacy. We made that proposal,” Nuland said. “Their ideas do not comport with the Constitution. And that would be difficult in terms of our relationship if that’s the path they take, but we gave them a number of options to keep talking and we hope they take us up on that.”
The US State Department published a press release that delivered an "ultimatum" to the Nigerian junta.
"The Acting Deputy Secretary met with Nigerien civil society and separately with members of the group asserting power in Niger to explain what is at stake if Niger does not respect its own constitutional order. This includes the potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in economic and security support for the people of Niger. Given our concerns about the negative political developments, the United States has decided to pause certain assistance for the Government of Niger while the situation remains fluid. As the situation evolves, the United States will make an assessment and update our assistance guidance to ensure consistency with all applicable U.S. legal restrictions and policy objectives."
Maria Zakharova, an official spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, wrote in her Telegram channel that Nuland's visit to Africa reminded her of the situation with Ukraine.
"Victoria Nuland thought that in Niger she could do it the Ukrainian way - hand out some bread to people and make fool of them. One can not find another banana regime similar to the one in Kyiv," Zakharova wrote.
Sergey Babkin, Doctor of Political Science believes that the United States and other Western countries have solid interest in Niger.
"Niger is the only country in the Sahel (region south of the Sahara Desert - ed.) that has US and French army bases, as well as a German logistics base. Niger is the largest supplier of uranium to France. France generates 80 percent of electricity at nuclear power plants. This is the basic cause of the conflict. When there were military coups in other African countries - twice in Mali, twice in Burkina Faso - no one really cared, because the West had no dependence on those states. At the same time, all those countries appear on the list of world's poorest countries," the political scientist told Pravda.Ru.
This is particularly vital to understand since Kiev recently chose to escalate the conflict once more by using Storm Shadow missiles provided by the UK to attack the Russian Fleet at Sevastopol of Crimea