In a move that further escalates diplomatic tensions, Niger’s post-coup military rulers have issued a directive for the United Nations resident and humanitarian coordinator, Louise Aubin, to leave the West African nation within 72 hours.
Citing what it referred to as “obstacles” created by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, the Nigerien government accused the UN leadership of attempting to impede the full and complete participation of Niger at last month’s UN General Assembly.
The military regime, which assumed power following a coup, has previously voiced concerns about the actions of the UN chief, labeling them as “perfidious” and potentially detrimental to resolving the ongoing crisis in the country.
Bakary Yaou Sangare, who previously served as Niger’s ambassador to the UN before the coup, was chosen by the new leadership as the country’s representative for the UN General Assembly.
However, a diplomatic source revealed that the ousted government also submitted an application to represent Niger, resulting in a dispute over credentials. Consequently, no representative from Niger was included in the speakers’ list, and the matter was deferred for resolution.
This decision to expel the UN official unfolds against the backdrop of France’s withdrawal of its 1,400-strong military contingent from Niger. The French evacuation was ordered by the coup leaders following the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum, who had been a key ally of Paris. The French ambassador to Niger was also instructed to leave the country in the aftermath of the coup.
These developments have raised concerns about the potential ramifications for diplomatic relations and humanitarian efforts in Niger, a country grappling with political instability and security challenges. The international community will be closely watching as events continue to unfold in this volatile West African nation.