WASHINGTON, September 2. /TASS/. US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and France’s Defence Minister Sebastien Lecornu spoke by phone and shared their desire for a diplomatic resolution in Niger, Pentagon Spokesman Brigadier General Pat Ryder said in a statement on Friday.
The military chiefs discussed "the security environment in Niger in light of recent developments in West Africa," according to the statement.
"The Secretary and Minister shared their desire for a diplomatic resolution to the situation in Niger and emphasized the need for continued engagement with the Nigeriens and regional African partners,| the statement said.
Austin and Lecornu also "affirmed their commitment to continued cooperation, enabled by the longstanding US-France defense and security relationship," according to the statement.
In late July, a group of mutinous soldiers in Niger announced the ouster of President Mohamed Bazoum. They then established the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland, headed by General Abdourahmane Tchiani, to run the country. Leaders of the ECOWAS countries slapped harsh sanctions on Niger and demanded that the mutinous soldier release Bazoum, or face the use of force.