Niger’s junta has demanded that the top United Nations official there leave the country within 72 hours over accusations that Niger was excluded from the annual U.N. gathering of world leaders in New York last month.
The foreign ministry said this in a statement dated Wednesday that the government had ordered Louise Aubin, the UN’s resident and humanitarian coordinator, “to take all necessary measures to leave Niamey within 72 hours”.
It pointed to “obstacles” which it said were presented by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “with a view to thwarting the full and complete participation of Niger” at last month’s UN General Assembly.
The military regime has already criticised “the perfidious actions” of the UN chief, saying that they were “likely to undermine any effort to end the crisis in our country”.
Bakary Yaou Sangare, who before the coup was Niger’s ambassador to the UN and is now its foreign minister, was the new leaders’ chosen representative for the gathering.
But, according to a diplomatic source, there was also an application by the overthrown government to represent Niamey.
Because of the competing credentials, the matter was deferred and no representative from Niger was added to the speakers’ list.
The decision to expel the UN official comes as France is withdrawing its 1,400-strong contingent in Niger after being ordered out by the coup leaders.
France’s ambassador to Niger was also given his marching orders after the coup that toppled President Mohamed Bazoum, an ally of Paris.