The US Vice President Kamala Harris has expressed deep concern over the situation in Niger Republic, where soldiers declared a coup d’état on Thursday, detaining President, Mohamed Bazoum in the presidential palace which castes a cloud of uncertainty over the state of the nation’s governance.
In a call with Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu, the US Vice President made it clear that any attempt to seize power by force is unacceptable and goes against democratic principles. She emphasized that the cooperation of the US with Niger’s government is conditional on the country’s commitment to democratic values. This stance underlines the importance the US places on democracy and peaceful transitions of power, both domestically and across the world.
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The United States has demonstrated its commitment to Niger’s stability and security with significant financial support. Since 2012, the US has invested approximately $500 million in bolstering the country’s security infrastructure. This investment highlights the strategic importance of Niger in the region and the value placed on its stability by the US.
Harris and Tinubu pledged to defend democracy in West Africa and the Sahel, acknowledging the potential ripple effects of the coup in Niger. This coup is the seventh in West and Central Africa since 2020 and could have serious implications for democratic progress and the battle against insurgency by extremist militants in the region. Niger is a crucial Western ally in this region, and its instability could pose significant challenges for regional security.
During the call, Harris also expressed support for Tinubu’s efforts to reform Nigeria’s economy. The discussed reforms include ending a fuel subsidy and unifying foreign currency exchange rates, steps that could potentially boost Nigeria’s economy and promote sustainable growth. This support further solidifies the partnership between the US and Nigeria, a key player in the West African region.
The unfolding political crisis in Niger is a testament to the fragile nature of democracy in many nations. The international community, led by influential nations like the US, has a critical role to play in upholding democratic norms and supporting peaceful transitions of power. The situation in Niger is a stark reminder of the potential consequences of political instability and a call to action for nations around the world to defend democratic values and principles.
Alongside the US, other leading nations and organizations including France, the West African regional bloc ECOWAS, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov have called for Bazoum’s immediate release and a return to constitutional order. This widespread international outcry underscores the global commitment to democratic principles and peaceful governance.