Washington to continue ‘humanitarian, food, and health assistance,’ to Nigerien people, says State Department
Washington moved Tuesday to curtail most forms of US assistance to the Nigerien government after the Biden administration formally designated the July military takeover a coup d’etat.
A total of $200 million in US aid that was paused in August has now been suspended, and State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said, “Any resumption of U.S. assistance will require action by the” military junta “to usher in democratic governance in a quick and credible timeframe.”
“We underscore that we will maintain our life-saving humanitarian, food, and health assistance to benefit the people of Niger. The United States also intends to continue to work with regional governments, including in Niger, to advance shared interests in West Africa,” he said in a statement.
“We stand with the Nigerien people in their aspirations for democracy, prosperity, and stability,” he added.
The agency repeated its call for the Nigerien military to free deposed President Mohamed Bazoum, his family and others detained during the coup.
Blinken spoke Monday by telephone with Bazoum and reiterated during the call “that a democratically elected, civilian-led government presents the best opportunity to ensure that Niger remains a strong partner in security and development in the region,” according to the State Department.
Niger was plunged into turmoil July 26 when Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, a former commander of the presidential guard, led the military in overthrowing Bazoum.
Bazoum was elected in 2021 in Niger’s first democratic power transition since it gained independence from French colonial rule in 1960.