President Joe Biden on Thursday called on the Niger military to release President Mohamed Bazoum, saying that the coup has put democracy in jeopardy in the country.
“In this critical moment, the United States stands with the people of Niger to honour our decades-long partnership rooted in shared democratic values and support for civilian-led governance,” Biden said in his statement.
“The Nigerien people have the right to choose their leaders. They have expressed their will through free and fair elections — and that must be respected.
“Defending fundamental democratic values, and standing up for constitutional order, justice, and the right of peaceful assembly, are essential to the partnership between Niger and the United States. I call for President Bazoum and his family to be immediately released and for the preservation of Niger’s hard-earned democracy.”
Biden’s statement comes a day after the State Department ordered all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their families to evacuate the U.S. Embassy there.
State Department spokesman Matthew Miller said the order was made “out of an abundance of caution” and because of limited commercial flights.
The statement also comes on the day that President Bola Tinubu sent former Nigerian leader, Abdulsalami Abubakar to lead a special delegation for talks with the coup leaders.
The former Nigerian Head of State was joined in the delegation by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III, and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, H.E. Omar Alieu Touray.
The delegation left for Niamey on Thursday following a briefing by President Tinubu at the State House in Abuja.
Tinubu has also sent a separate delegation led by Ambassador Babagana Kingibe to engage with the leaders of Libya and Algeria on the Niger crisis.