US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has praised the outcome of the extraordinary summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held in Nigeria, which imposed financial sanctions and travel bans on Niger’s military leaders who deposed President Mohamed Bazoum.
Blinken said in a press statement Sunday night that his country commended the “strong leadership” of ECOWAS heads of state and government as they defended Niger’s constitutional order.
He said the outcome of the summit respected the will of the people of Niger and was in line with the principles of the ECOWAS and the African Union (AU) “of zero tolerance for unconstitutional change.
“We join the ECOWAS and regional leaders in calling for the immediate release of President Mohamed Bazoum and his family and the restoration of all state functions to the legitimate and democratically elected government,” he said. “The US also welcomes the dispatch to Niger of the Special Representative of the President of ECOWAS, Nigerian President Bula Tenuber, and urges all parties to work with ECOWAS to bring about a peaceful and speedy resolution of the current situation,” he said. Washington “will remain actively engaged with ECOWAS and West African leaders on next steps to preserve Niger’s democratic gains,” he added. The 15-nation ECOWAS Group of Seven (ECOWAS) on Sunday imposed economic and travel sanctions on the military for announcing the ouster of Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum and threatened to use measures that could include the “use of force” if constitutional order is not restored in Niger.
The ECOWAS has given Niger’s new military leaders a week to hand over power and return President Bazoum to power. The US has reaffirmed its firm support for Bazoum and stressed the importance of his leadership continuing in Niamey, stressing that it will continue to work to ensure the full restoration of constitutional order and democratic governance in Niger.