US, AU agree 'no acceptable military solution' to Niger crisis: State Department

US, AU agree 'no acceptable military solution' to Niger crisis: State Department

Antony Blinken, AU chief welcome 'regional leadership and cooperation' to address crisis, says State Department

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - Secretary of State Antony Blinken and African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat agreed Tuesday that there is "no acceptable military to solution" to the crisis in Niger.

Blinken spoke with Mahamat by telephone to discuss "the concerning developments in Niger," and both "reiterated the shared U.S.-AU priorities of seeing the immediate release of President Mohamed Bazoum and urged respect for the rule of law and public safety," State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said in a statement.

"The Secretary and Chairperson Faki also welcomed regional leadership and cooperation, which is essential to restore constitutional order in Niger," he said.

"Agreeing there is no acceptable military solution to the conflict in Sudan, they discussed coordinated efforts to end the fighting as well as the urgent need for unimpeded humanitarian access and for all parties to respect human rights," added Miller.

The comments come as tensions continue to flare in West Africa with fellow military juntas vowing to support Gen. Abdourahamane Tchiani, the commander of Niger's presidential guard who declared himself the head of a transitional government on Friday following the overthrow of Bazoum.

Bazoum was elected in 2021 in Niger’s first democratic power transition since it gained independence from French colonial rule in 1960.

The leaders of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) bloc issued an ultimatum Sunday to the junta to reinstate the democratically-elected president in one week or risk military intervention from regional countries.

The West African bloc also announced the “immediate” suspension of “all commercial and financial transactions” with Niger.

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