MOSCOW (Reuters) -The Kremlin said on Friday that any interference from non-regional powers such as the United States in Niger was unlikely to improve the situation following a military coup in the west African nation.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was responding to a question about a call from Niger’s ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum, for the United States and the entire international community to intervene to restore constitutional order in his country.
“It is unlikely that the intervention of non-regional forces is capable of changing the situation for the better,” Peskov told reporters.
“…We are monitoring the situation very closely, we are concerned about the tension in Niger, and we continue to favour a swift return to constitutional normality without endangering human lives,” he said.
Niger’s regional and Western partners, including former colonial power France and the United States, have imposed sweeping sanctions on Niger in an effort to pressure the coup leaders to restore constitutional order after Bazoum’s ouster – the seventh coup in West and Central Africa since 2020.
But junta leader Abdourahamane Tiani, the former head of Niger’s presidential guard, has said he will not back down.
Tiani has the support of fellow juntas in Mali and Burkina Faso and also of Russia’s private mercenary Wagner group, which has fighters in Mali and Central African Republic.
In a Washington Post opinion piece, President Bazoum wrote: “With an open invitation from the coup plotters and their regional allies, the entire central Sahel region could fall to Russian influence via the Wagner Group, whose brutal terrorism has been on full display in Ukraine.”
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of Wagner, last week welcomed the coup in Niger, and said his forces were available to restore order. The Kremlin has urged a return to constitutional order.
(Reporting by ReutersWriting by Gareth Jones Editing by Andrew Osborn)