Niger: US Pledges Humanitarian, Economic, Security Aid to Niger

In a primary for a U.S. secretary of state, Antony Blinken was within the African nation of Niger Thursday to provide humanitarian, financial and safety help.

Blinken’s go to to Niger follows a end earlier within the day in Ethiopia, a visit seen by analysts as an effort to bolster U.S. relations in a portion of the world the place Russia and China have been looking for to achieve affect.

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At a information convention along with his Niger counterpart, Blinken introduced a $150 million humanitarian help bundle for the west and central sector of African which is called the Sahel, which comprises Niger, Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali and Mauritania.

As he introduced the help bundle, Blinken credited Niger and different nations within the sector for his or her dedication to democratic concepts. He stated the United States is “committed to continuing to invest in the resilience of democracies to a wide range of threats and challenges.”

Blinken additionally mentioned applications designed to handle foodstuff insecurity within the nation, which he made a degree to notice had been exacerbated by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The battle in Ukraine grew to become additional portion of the dialogue when Blinken was requested to touch upon Poland’s determination to ship MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine to support in its protection efforts. Ukraine has requested greater sophisticated air capability to counter the Russian offensive, however the U.S. has to date resisted.

Blinken stated this was a sovereign determination by Poland, and “different nations are doing different things” to support Ukraine defend itself in opposition to the Russian aggression.

He stated it has consistently been the U.S. focus to do every thing to be certain Ukraine has what it wants within the second, and he stated it was a mistake to deal with any detailed weapons system at any given time.

Blinken stated what’s critical is simply not solely that the Ukrainians have the correct weapons system, but in addition that they know the right way to use it and that it suits right into a complete plan.

The secretary of state was additionally requested in regards to the developing affect of the Russian mercenary Wagner Group.

Many nations within the sector have turned to Russia and the Wagner Group for safety help after unsuccessful efforts by the U.S. and France to quell terrorist and extremist group assaults within the sector.

Blinken first lauded Niger for rejecting and criticizing Russia and the Wagner Group. He stated that in areas the place Wagner has been energetic, matters have ended badly and that it has not been an effectual response to insecurity.

“We’ve seen countries find themself weaker, poorer and less independent as a result of an association with Wagner,” he stated.

Blinken added there have been circumstances by which the Wagner Group has engaged in exploitation of a state’s assets, as nicely as corruption, violence and human rights abuses. He stated nations determined themselves much less safe subsequently of that organization.

Blinken stated it was incumbent upon the United States to show how its greater complete method to safety can provide concrete outcomes.

Some tips for this report got here from The Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

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