US says 'window of opportunity' open to reverse Niger coup

AFP , Monday 7 Aug 2023

The United States said Monday it still saw a chance to end Niger's coup diplomatically, after the military ignored an ultimatum to restore the elected government.

A street vendor pushes his cart past burned cars outside the headquarters of president Bazoum s Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism in Niamey on August 7, 2023. AFP


"The window of opportunity is definitely still open. We believe that the junta should step aside and let President (Mohamed) Bazoum resume his duties," State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.

The West African bloc ECOWAS had warned the military to reinstate Bazoum, a key Western ally, by Sunday night, but the deadline passed without a response.

Miller, who noted that military intervention was always a "last resort" for ECOWAS, said the United States was "focused on finding a diplomatic solution."

He also dismissed efforts by Mali and Burkina Faso, both suspended from ECOWAS for their military governments, which sent their own envoys to Niger.

"If we thought they were sending envoys to try to restore democratic leadership and the constitutional order, we would see that as productive and helpful, but I very much doubt that's the case," Miller said.

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