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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 31, 1996


As a result of the January 27 military coup, which overthrew the democratically elected government of Niger, the United States yesterday acted to suspend bilateral development and military assistance to Niger totaling almost $25 million in FY95. The United States regrets that these programs, which directly benefited the people of Niger, are now suspended.

In addition, the United States will not support any new programs for Niger in the International Financial Institutions in which it holds membership so long as the military authorities ignore the calls of the international community to return to the barracks and restore the legitimately elected government.

The United States again calls upon the military leadership in Niger to restore immediately the duly elected, civilian, democratic government and stresses that we will not recognize any interim civilian administration appointed by the military coup-leaders. The existing democratic institutions, however imperfect, represent the will of the Nigerien people and must be respected.

Finally, the United States urges the military coup leaders to engage in discussion with elected authorities of Niger on means to restore the legitimate civilian, government promptly. The swift condemnation of this coup by the Secretaries General of the United Nations and the Organization of African Unity, the European Union and many individual countries demonstrates the international community's firm rejection of military solutions to political problems. The United States will consult urgently with other countries in capitals and at the United Nations on possible additional steps we might take to restore the legitimate government of Niger.

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