By Enyichukwu Enenanna
Washington says it may be left with no option but to deploy military option in restoring constitutional order in landlocked Niger, if the General Abdourahamane Tchiani-led military junta fails to reinstate the ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.
In a teleconference on Tuesday, the US acting Deputy Secretary, Victoria Nuland, in a special briefing on Niger said Washington is not considering deploying force unless it is pushed to that point.
“There is still a lot of motion here on many sides with regard to where the governance situation will go.
“So we will be watching that closely and there are a number of regional meetings coming up and consultations with allies and partners that we need to make.
“So we’ll be watching the situation, but we understand our legal responsibilities and I explained those very clearly to the guys (Niger junta) who were responsible for this and that it is not our desire to go there, but they may push us to that point, and we asked them to be prudent in that regard and to hear our offer to try to work with them to solve this diplomatically and return to constitutional order”, Nuland stated.
She said President Joe Biden is in constant touch with President Tinubu, the ECOWAS Chairman as well as many other European allies.
“He’s also been in regular touch with President Tinubu of Nigeria, who is currently head of ECOWAS, with AU Chairperson Faki, and with a number of European allies with whom we work in Niger, particularly on counterterrorism.
“And all of this has been rooted in our shared values, including the sense of democracy, which was why it was so difficult, and remains difficult, to see the current challenge to the democratic order which began on July 26,” she stressed.
ECOWAS bloc had earlier threatened to take military action upon the expiration of seven days ultimatum last Sunday. Bloc leaders are meeting in Abuja on Thursday to explore other options to restore constitutional order.
The Niger junta had announced the appointment of financial expert as the transition Prime Minister.