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Niger: Junta appoints economist as new PM

The junta controlled government in Niger Republic, on Monday appointed Ali Lamine Zene, an economist as the new Prime Minister

Ali Lamine Zene is expected to lead the caretaker government. The appointment is coming more than a week after the junta booted president Mohamed Bazoum out of office.

Ali Lamine Zene was made the new Prime Minister by General Abdourahmane Tchiani, who is the arrowhead of the coup to lead the transitional government.

Zene served as finance minister under the administration of president Mamadou Tandja.

Tandja led the country from 1999 to 2010 after civilian rule was restored in the country. Mr Zene is currently the manager in Chad for African Development Bank. He has previously served in Ivory Coast and Gabon for the bank.

He is now expected to lead consultation for the formation of the new government.

Also, the US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland is said to have met with the military rulers in Niger and pressed for the reversal of the coup. But it seems the meeting panned out to be rough as the junta refused to yield to the appeals.

Nuland’s trip on Monday was carried out in secrecy till she left. She described the talks as “extremely frank and at times quite difficult”.

On the other hand, the ultimatum by the regional bloc—ECOWAS given to the junta controlled government to revise back to constitutional democracy was also ignored.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said that diplomacy is the ‘preferred way’ to resolve the situation in Niger.

“Diplomacy is certainly the preferred way of resolving this situation,” he told French Radio RFI on Monday.

“It is ECOWAS’ current approach. It is our approach,” he said

The African bloc ECOWAS is renewing its diplomatic push to resolve the situation in Niger. The 15-nation bloc is reconvening a summit on Thursday in the Nigerian capital Abuja.

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