White House says deeply concerned by Niger events, cooperation at risk

(Reuters) -The United States remains deeply concerned by developments in Niger in the wake of a military coup and condemns any effort to seize power by force, White House national security spokesman John Kirby said on Friday.

Kirby told a briefing that U.S. cooperation with the government of the African state was at risk, while adding there was still room for infra-African diplomacy.

Earlier on Friday, coup leaders in Niger declared General Abdourahamane Tiani as the new head of state in the wake of the seventh military takeover in West and Central Africa in less than three years.

“We remain deeply concerned about the unfolding developments … the United States condemns in the strongest terms, any effort to seize power by force,” said Kirby.

“A military takeover may cause the United States to cease security and other cooperation with the government of Niger, jeopardizing existing security and non security partnerships.”

There are about 1,100 U.S. troops in Niger, where the U.S. military operates out of two bases.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; writing by David Ljunggren; editing by Jonathan Oatis and Sandra Maler)