Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s Interview with Kristen Saloomey of Al Jazeera

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
U.S. Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
August 4, 2023

AS DELIVERED

QUESTION: The U.S. Ambassador to the UN has echoed calls for a return to democracy in Niger. Our UN correspondent Kristen Saloomey sat down to discuss the issues at play with Linda Thomas-Greenfield. She began by asking her what support the U.S. and the Security Council are willing to give the democratically elected President of Niger Mohamed Bazoum.

AMBASSADOR LINDA THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We have been communicating with President Bazoum since he was put under house arrest. He is the democratically elected government. We have called for his return. We recognize him as the democratically elected government. We’ve condemned this attempt to overthrow him, and we support ECOWAS in their efforts to find a path forward.

QUESTION: Will that be military support in any way?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We’re supporting ECOWAS, we’re supporting their demands on the military, and we’re supporting President Bazoum.

QUESTION: How would you support them?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: We are engaging diplomatically with countries in the region. We are engaging diplomatically here at the United Nations to condemn what this military has done. And we will continue to keep pressure on them until they make the decision, which is the right decision, to allow this democratically elected government to resume its place.

QUESTION: What do you make of pro-Russia signs at demonstrations in Niger?

AMBASSADOR THOMAS-GREENFIELD: This is clearly internal, but we have said over and over again – we’ve expressed our concerns about the actions of the Wagner Group, of Prigozhin in the region. And Prigozhin has this way of taking advantage of violence; he takes advantage of instability, and he certainly is speaking out on this. So, it’s just something that again reaffirms our concern that we have to address what the Russians, what Wagner is attempting to do in Africa.

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