Nuland tries to throw weight around in Niger, sours relations

8 August 2023

Tensions have escalated between the United States and Niger after Under Secretary of State Victoria Nuland's recent visit to the West African nation.

Nuland's meetings with rebel factions and her subsequent warnings to the military junta have ignited a diplomatic row, resulting in a suspension of US economic aid to the country.

During her visit to Niger's capital, Victoria Nuland engaged with rebel groups, voicing concerns over the potential risks associated with aligning the nation's interests with Russia. Nuland's efforts to caution against forging ties with Moscow appear to have exacerbated existing tensions between the US and the junta-led government.

In an unexpected twist, Nuland also sought to meet with detained former President Bazoum, a request that was denied by the military junta. This denial further strained the already delicate relationship between the two nations.

The aftermath of Nuland's visit has brought swift repercussions. The US government, in response to the events, announced the immediate suspension of all economic aid to Niger. This move underscores Washington's dissatisfaction with the junta's actions and its apprehensions about the nation's direction in international relations.

In response to the suspension of US aid, Niger's revolutionary government exhibited a combative stance. Rejecting Victoria Nuland's call to restore the "democratic order," the government issued a statement indicating that they had no interest in the suspended aid.

Russia also became entangled in the narrative as Maria Zakharova, the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, commented on the situation. Zakharova drew comparisons between Niger and Ukraine, suggesting that the "banana regimes" once seen in Kyiv were no longer applicable, insinuating that Niger would not be easily swayed by external influence.

As the diplomatic fallout unfolds, international attention remains focused on the evolving relationship between the US and Niger. The intersection of geopolitics, rebel dynamics, and aid suspension casts a shadow over the country's future trajectory and its global affiliations.