US ‘pausing’ some assistance programs to Niger government: BlinkenFri, 04 Aug 2023 23:52:22 GMT

The United States is suspending some aid programs to the Niger government, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday, more than one week after the country’s president was toppled in a coup.”The US government is pausing certain foreign assistance programs benefiting the government of Niger,” the top diplomat said in a statement, without providing details on those programs.However, “life-saving humanitarian and food assistance will continue” and the US would still carry out diplomatic and security operations to protect its personnel in the country.The move came as West Africa’s regional bloc said its military chiefs had agreed on a plan for a possible intervention in Niger, including the potential use of force.President Mohamed Bazoum, in a column in The Washington Post published Thursday, called on Washington and the international community to restore Niger’s political order, warning that if the coup attempt is successful, “it will have devastating consequences for our country, our region and the entire world.”Niger has played a key part in Western strategies to combat a jihadist insurgency that has plagued the Sahel since 2012, with the United States stationing around 1,000 troops in the country.”As we have made clear since the outset of this situation, the provision of US assistance to the government of Niger depends on democratic governance and respect for constitutional order,” Blinken said.”We remain committed to supporting the people of Niger to help them preserve their hard-earned democracy and we reiterate our call for the immediate restoration of Niger’s democratically-elected government.”