French President Emmanuel Macron is set to open a special National Defense and Security Council on Saturday afternoon to discuss the situation in Niger, where General Abdourahamane Tiani, head of the presidential guard responsible for the overthrow of elected President Mohamed Bazoum, presented himself on Friday as the new strongman of the country. On Sunday, a “special summit” of the ECOWAS, of which Niger is a member, will be held in Abuja to assess the situation.
After the coup that saw the head of the presidential guard seize power in Niger, President Emmanuel Macron will preside over a National Defense and Security Council dedicated to the country on Saturday, July 29, at 3:00 PM, the Elysée announced on Friday, July 28.
The French leader, who is set to return from Oceania on Friday night, has already condemned the coup d’état by the junta that overthrew Mohamed Bazoum on Wednesday.
“This coup d’état is completely illegitimate and deeply dangerous for the Nigeriens, for Niger, and for the entire region,” Emmanuel Macron emphasized. “That is why we are calling for the release of President Bazoum and the restoration of constitutional order,” he stated from Papua New Guinea.
For its part, the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs has affirmed that France “does not recognize the authorities” resulting from the coup led by General Abdourahamane Tiani.
A coup justified by the “deterioration of the security situation,” according to General Tiani
On Friday, General Tiani presented himself on public television as the “president of the National Council for the Safeguard of the Fatherland” following a coup d’état that he justified with the “deterioration of the security situation” in the country.
This discreet senior officer has commanded the presidential guard since his appointment in 2011 by Issoufou Mahamadou, Mohamed Bazoum’s predecessor.
His statement came on the third day of the former president’s sequestration in his private residence located inside the military camp of the Presidential Guard, whose commanders are among the coup plotters.
After Paris, Washington responded in the night from Friday to Saturday through the voice of its Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who assured Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum of the “unwavering support” of the United States during a phone call, according to his spokesman Matthew Sullivan.
Antony Blinken stressed that the coup puts “hundreds of millions of dollars of aid” at risk, but that the United States would continue to work towards the “full restoration of constitutional order and democratic governance in Niger”.
On Sunday, a “special summit” of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), of which Niger is a member, will be held in Abuja to assess the situation, with possible sanctions on the table.
Several African countries and the United Nations have also called for the release of Mohamed Bazoum. In Nairobi, Kenyan President William Ruto said that with this coup, “Africa has suffered a serious setback in its democratic advances”.
The European Union (EU), through its Foreign Affairs chief Josep Borrell, threatened on Friday to suspend “all budgetary support”.