Friday, July 19, 2024

Niger: Europe Rejects Coup Leaders, Cuts Aid

The European Union said it was suspending all aid to Niger with immediate effect after General Abdourahamane Tchiani declared himself the leader of the country in a coup. The bloc will also stop all security cooperation.

The European Union will not recognize the military leaders of Niger, it announced on Saturday.

It also suspended all security cooperation with the country with immediate effect.

The European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said they were ready to support future decisions, including the “adoption of sanctions” taken by West Africa’s main regional bloc ECOWAS, in support of Niger’s democratic leaders.

Niger saw a coup earlier this week, with General Abdourahamane Tchiani declaring himself the leader on Friday after removing the democratically-elected President Mohamed Bazoum.

Bazoum “remains the only legitimate president of Niger,” the European Union said in its statement.

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Bazoum, who was elected in 2021 in Niger’s first peaceful transfer of power since its independence from France in 1960, is currently held by members of his presidential guard at the presidential palace.

Bazoum is seen as a key ally of Western efforts to battle Islamist insurgency in the Sahel region, and Niger is a major recipient of foreign aid.

In a communique, the African Union asked Niger’s army to “return to their barracks and restore constitutional authority” within 15 days.

The body, which consists of 55 member states that make up the countries on the continent, said it “condemns the strongest terms possible” the presidential coup. It also expressed concern over the “alarming resurgence” of military coups in Africa.