ABUJA, (iexclusivenews) – The military junta that overthrew Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum in July has accused the United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of siding with France and its allies in the West African region.
The junta claims that Guterres is blocking its full participation at the U.N.’s annual meeting of world leaders in New York, which could hamper the resolution of the political crisis in Niger.
The Junta’s Envoy Denied Credentials to Attend the U.N. General Assembly
The junta had appointed Bakary Yaou Sangare, Niger’s former ambassador to the United Nations, as its foreign minister after the coup. The junta wanted Sangare to speak on its behalf at the U.N. General Assembly, which started on September 21.
However, Sangare did not receive credentials to attend the meeting, after the deposed Nigerien government’s foreign minister, Hassoumi Massoudou, sent a letter to the U.N. informing that Sangare was no longer Niger’s permanent representative.
Stéphane Dujarric, Guterres’ spokesperson, said that the U.N. had no choice but to follow the letter from Massoudou.
The Junta Accuses Guterres of Obstructing Niger’s Participation to Appease France and ECOWAS
In response, Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane, a spokesman for the junta, accused Massoudou of “high treason” and alleged that Guterres was acting in the interest of France and the European Union, who want to “punish Niger and its people at all costs for their patriotic choice”. Abdramane also accused the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) of interference and complicity with France.
Abdramane said that Guterres was “obstructing” Niger’s full participation in the U.N. General Assembly, which could “undermine any effort to end the crisis in our country”.
He said that Guterres was ignoring the will of the Nigerien people, who supported the coup against Bazoum, who was accused of electoral fraud and corruption.
The Junta Has Formed a Transitional Government but Faces Regional and International Pressure
The junta has formed a transitional government that it says may remain in power for up to three years, until new elections are held. The junta has appointed civilians to serve as prime minister and in some other posts, but has retained control over key ministries such as defense and interior.
However, ECOWAS and foreign powers such as France still recognize Bazoum as Niger’s rightful leader. Bazoum took office in April 2021 in the country’s first transfer of power between elected leaders since its independence from France in 1960.
Bazoum has appealed to a regional court this week to order his release and reinstatement as president.
ECOWAS has condemned the coup and imposed sanctions on Niger, including a suspension from its decision-making bodies and a freeze on financial transactions. ECOWAS has also said that it considers a military intervention an option for restoring Bazoum as president.
France, which has a strong military presence in Niger and other Sahel countries to fight against Islamist militants, has also denounced the coup and called for a swift return to civilian rule.
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