American acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland has met with the military junta in Niamey, Niger, after they deposed the elected government at the end of last month.
Nuland said she travelled to the capital of Niger to express her concern over the overthrow of the government.
She said the military regime refused her access to the deposed president, Mohammed Bazoum.
Nuland’s trip to Niger comes after she visited South Africa last week where she met with senior officials in government to discuss bilateral issues.
She then travelled to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Ivory Coast.
On her visit to Niamey, Nuland said she met with the defence minister, but did not meet with the new ruler Abdourahamane Tiani.
The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) had called on Tiani to leave office and put back to power the democratically elected president.
Ecowas had given Niger until last Sunday failing which it may consider the use of force.
Spokesperson for the State Department Matthew Miller said Nuland had called for the release of the president and return to constitutional order.
“Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland travelled to Niamey to express our grave concern regarding developments in Niger and our resolute commitment to supporting democracy and constitutional order,” Miller said.
“The United States continues to call for the immediate release of President Mohamed Bazoum, his family, and all those detained as part of the extra-constitutional attempt to seize power,” he said.
“The Acting Deputy Secretary met with Nigerien civil society and separately with members of the group asserting power in Niger to explain what is at stake if Niger does not respect its own constitutional order,” Miller continued.
“This includes the potential loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in economic and security support for the people of Niger. Given our concerns about the negative political developments, the United States has decided to pause certain assistance for the government of Niger while the situation remains fluid,” he said.
“As the situation evolves, the United States will make an assessment and update our assistance guidance to ensure consistency with all applicable U.S. legal restrictions and policy objectives. She underlined that the U.S. will remain in close contact with our Allies and partners, including the Economic Community of West African States.”
The United Nations, the African Union, Ecowas and other countries have called for the military junta to return power to a democratically elected government.
The government had only been in power since 2021 and the head of the elite presidential unit, Tiani, seized power at the end of last month.