China hopes Niger will find a ‘political resolution’ to coup

BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s foreign ministry said on Thursday it believes Niger and other regional countries have the wisdom and capability to find a “political resolution” to the current situation, referring to last week’s coup in the West African nation.

Nigerien soldiers announced last Wednesday that President Mohamed Bazoum had been removed from power, marking the seventh coup in the West and Central Africa region since 2020.

The coup has been widely condemned by Western countries, and West African nations have imposed sanctions on the former French colony, calling for the ousted government to be restored.

“We believe that Niger and regional countries have the wisdom and capability to find a political resolution to the current situation,” China’s foreign ministry said in a written statement to Reuters.

It also called for “relevant parties” to “restore normal order as soon as possible”.

“President Bazoum is a friend of China, it is hoped that his personal safety is guaranteed, and that relevant parties in Niger peacefully manage differences through dialogue with the fundamental interests of the nation and the people as a starting point,” the ministry said.

The statement did not refer to the events as a “coup” and did not specify which regional countries it referred to.

The ministry added that it “attaches high importance” to the safety of Chinese nationals in Niger, and that it had directed them to “strengthen safety and preventative measures, (and) prepare for an emergency”.

“The foreign ministry and China’s embassy in Niger will continue to maintain close communication with Chinese nationals and institutions in Niger, provide timely consular protection and assistance, and use all powers to uphold the safety of (Chinese) people and assets,” the statement said.

China did not confirm whether there were any Chinese casualties in response to Reuters’ questions.

(Reporting by Laurie Chen and Beijing newsroom; Editing by Giles Elgood)