US dismayed over Nigerien military’s plan to try ousted president

US dismayed over Nigerien military’s plan to try ousted president

Move ‘will not contribute to a peaceful resolution of this crisis,' says State Department deputy spokesman

By Iclal Turan

WASHINGTON (AA) - The US said Monday that it is dismayed by reports that Niger’s military administration plans to prosecute ousted President Mohamed Bazoum for "high treason.”

"We are incredibly dismayed by reports that President Bazoum's unjust detention has gone even a step further," State Department deputy spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters during a daily press briefing.

"This action is completely unwarranted and unjustified and, candidly, it will not contribute to a peaceful resolution of this crisis," he added.

Niger’s military administration vowed Sunday to prosecute Bazoum for "high treason" and undermining the country’s “internal and external security.”

Asked about a recent announcement by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) regarding the developments in Niger, Patel said: "ECOWAS has been also very clear, and very clear publicly, that military intervention should be a last resort – something that we agree with -- and we continue to be focused on finding a diplomatic solution and are in close contact with ECOWAS and their leadership on this."

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken held a phone call with Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said Monday.

"The Secretary commended President Tinubu’s leadership of the Economic Community of West African States Second Extraordinary Summit on the situation in the Republic of Niger," the statement said.

Blinken also noted the importance of "maintaining pressure” on the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Country (CNSP) to “restore constitutional order and to see President Mohamed Bazoum and his family released,” according to Miller.

On July 26, a group of soldiers delivered a statement on Nigerien state television shortly after detaining President Bazoum, saying they took the step due to the "deteriorating security situation and bad governance."

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

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