United States government is employing a strategic approach in refraining from officially classifying the overthrow of Niger’s democratic government as a coup, aiming to safeguard its interests and use diplomatic leverage to restore democracy in the country.
US acting Deputy Secretary of State, Victoria Nuland, visited Niger but was denied a meeting with deposed President Mohamed Bazoum and junta leader General Abdourahmane Tchiani. She did, however, meet with General Moussa Salaou Barmou, the chief of defense for the junta, who justified the takeover and asserted that Bazoum would remain detained.
Despite the military coup, the US has not officially declared it as such, a move that holds implications for the aid and training that Niger receives from the US. By not labeling it a coup, the US retains a diplomatic bargaining chip to ensure the restoration of democracy.
Declaring it a coup would result in Niger losing various forms of assistance, including financial aid and military training provided by the US. By withholding the declaration, the US hopes to influence the junta to restore democracy and release Bazoum, the democratically-elected president.
The strategy involves leveraging the junta’s desire for continued support against their demands, with the aim of returning Niger to the leadership of its elected president, Bazoum. The US is navigating a delicate balance between safeguarding its interests and exerting diplomatic pressure for a positive outcome.
Although the junta appears resistant and determined to hold power, the US remains hopeful that refraining from labeling the coup will yield favorable results, eventually leading to the restoration of democratic leadership in Niger.
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