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Blinken says US assistance to Niger 'in jeopardy' amid military coup

Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned on Saturday that U.S. assistance to Niger is “in jeopardy,” following a military takeover of the country’s democratically elected government earlier this week.

“Our economic and security partnership with Niger – which is significant, hundreds of millions of dollars — depends on the continuation of the democratic governance and constitutional order that has been disrupted by the actions in the last few days,” Blinken said at a press conference in Brisbane, Australia.

“So that assistance, that support, is in clear jeopardy as a result of these actions, which is another reason why they need to be immediately reversed,” he continued.

However, the secretary of state has so far declined to label the apparent seizure of power in the country a coup.

“Regardless of what we call this, the fact remains that the very significant assistance that we have in place and that’s making a material difference in the lives of the people of Niger is clearly in jeopardy,” Blinken added. “And we’ve communicated that as clearly as we possibly can to those responsible for disrupting the constitutional order and Niger’s democracy.”

Members of Niger’s presidential guard announced on Wednesday night that they had overthrown President Mohamed Bazoum. The group, which is calling itself the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Country, named Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani as the country’s new leader on Friday.

While Blinken issued warnings on Saturday, France and the European Union opted to cut off financial assistance to the country, maintaining that Bazoum is “only legitimate president of Niger” and calling for his return to power, according to Al Jazeera.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: The Hill

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