Biden calls for the urgent release of President Bazoum of Niger. In a written statement commemorating Niger’s Independence Day, President Joe Biden on Thursday demanded the immediate release of Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum, stating that the United States “stands with the people of Niger” as the country confronts a “grave challenge to its democracy.”
This is the first time Biden has commented on the situation in Niger since the military takeover occurred last week.
“The people of Niger have the opportunity to select their leaders. Biden stated, “They have expressed their will through free and fair elections, which must be respected.” “Defending fundamental democratic values and defending constitutional order, justice, and the right to peaceful assembly is essential to the Niger-United States partnership.”
“I demand the immediate release of President Bazoum and his family, as well as the protection of Niger’s hard-won democracy,” he added.
Biden’s statement comes when the United States has engaged in extensive diplomatic efforts to restore the democratically elected Bazoum to power.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Bazoum, detained last week, on Wednesday, according to State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller. Miller stated that the United States is committed to finding a peaceful resolution that ensures Niger remains a strong security and development partner in the region.
The United States has not formally determined whether or not the current situation constitutes a coup. This designation would necessitate suspending foreign and military aid to the Nigerian government. There is no time limit for the United States to make this designation.
Wednesday, the State Department ordered the evacuation of non-emergency personnel and their families from Niger due to the tension in the country.
“President Mohamed Bazoum was placed under house arrest on July 26 amid efforts to overthrow the democratically elected government of Niger.” Following subsequent events, flight options have become extremely limited,” the State Department stated in a revised travel advisory.
“Given this development, on August 2, 2023, the Department ordered the departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and eligible family members from the U.S. Embassy in Niamey,” the document stated. “The U.S. Embassy in Niamey has temporarily reduced its personnel, suspended routine services, and can only provide emergency assistance to American citizens in Niger.”
However, this does not imply that the United States will close its embassy or evacuate all of its diplomats. According to US officials, approximately 1,100 US troops were restricted to American military bases earlier this week, but they are not anticipated to leave the country at this time.