A top U.S. State Department official has traveled to Niger and held talks with its military coup leadership, as the Biden administration seeks a diplomatic end to the crisis in the West African nation.
Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland told reporters via teleconference from Niamey that she met Monday with Brig. Gen. Moussa Salaou Barmou, a leader of the so-called National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland, which ousted civilian rule of the country July 26 in a coup and detained Niger’s democratically elected president, Mohamed Bazoum.
She said she spoke with the general and three of his supporting colonels for more than two hours in talks that were “extremely frank and at times quite difficult.”
“We are pushing for a negotiated solution. It was not easy to get traction there,” she said. “They are quite firm in their view on how they want to proceed, and it does not comport with the constitution of Niger.”
The United States has been among Western nations to condemn the ousting of civilian rule in Niger, which is the latest West African nation to fall in a coup in the last several years.