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wapoo | U.S. threats led to rupture of vital military ties, Nigerien leader says, 14 May
"The Americans stayed on our soil, doing nothing while the terrorists killed people and burned towns," [PM Ali Mahaman Lamine] Zeine said. "It is not a sign of friendship to come on our soil but let the terrorists attack us. We have seen what the United States will do to defend its allies, because we have seen Ukraine and Israel."
Zeine said leaders of Niger's new government, known as the National Council for Safeguarding the Homeland, or by its French initials CNSP, were bewildered that the United States had frozen military support while insisting on keeping the troops in the country without justifying their continued presence. The American response in the wake of Niger's coup contrasted sharply with that of other nations, including Russia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, he said, which have welcomed the new Nigerien leaders with "open arms."
state.gov | Department Press Briefing - May 14, 2024
QUESTION: The junta's prime minister gave an interview to The Washington Post in which he blamed a visit by Assistant Secretary Phee for the decision to boot out U.S. troops, saying that she made threats about Niger's relationship with Iran and Russia and called it unacceptable. Do you dispute the characterization of this? Do you have any comment on—
PATEL: So I'm not going to get into the specifics of our diplomatic, deliberative conversations, Shaun, but what I can say is that the CNSP was presented with a choice based on mutual interest about whether it wished to continue its security partnership with us, a choice that was rooted in our belief of democratic principles and what was in our national security interest....
He said the Nigerien leaders took particular umbrage at remarks by Molly Phee, the State Department's top official for African affairs, who he said had urged the government during a March visit to Niamey to refrain from engaging with Iran and Russia in ways objectionable to Washington if Niger wanted to continue its security relationship with the United States. He also said Phee had further threatened sanctions if Niger pursued a deal to sell uranium to Iran.
by Cat on Wed May 15th, 2024 at 04:16:17 PM EST
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