Top US official says held ‘difficult’ talks with Niger coup leaders

WASHINGTON-The second-highest US diplomat said Tuesday she had met with Niger’s military leaders but made no immediate headway in reversing a coup.
Victoria Nuland, the acting deputy secretary of state, said she met for more than two hours with Niger’s senior military leaders in the capital Niamey.
“These conversations were extremely frank and at times quite difficult,” Nuland told reporters by telephone as she prepared to fly out of Niamey.
“This was a first conversation in which the United States was offering its good offices if there is a desire on the part of the people who are responsible for this to return to the constitutional order,” she said.
“I would not say that we were in any way taken up on that offer.”
She said she met with Brigadier  General Moussa Salaou Barmou, who has been named the new military chief of staff, and other leaders.
She said the junta did not respond to her requests to meet Niger’s self-proclaimed new leader, General Abdourahamane Tiani, or the detained elected president, Mohamed Bazoum, although US officials have been in touch with Bazoum by telephone.

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