Kathleen FitzGibbon, the US ambassador to Niger, has handed her credentials to the foreign ministry in Niamey, according to Niger’s state-owned television. According to state television, she handed her credentials to the foreign ministry on Sunday, as a Russian delegation arrived in Niamey for negotiations with the junta.
Ms. FitzGibbon formerly served as Division Chief, West and Southern Africa, and then as Director of the Office of Africa Analysis, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, United States Department of State, Washington, D.C.
Foreign Minister Bakary Yaou Sangare claimed the ambassador’s removal indicated that the US recognised the military-led administration that took power in a coup in July.
The US embassy in Niger has yet to respond.
The United States has around 1,100 soldiers stationed in Niger to tackle the danger presented by militant Islamists in the region.
Following the coup, it declared the suspension of security cooperation and some financial help, but has progressively modified its posture in an apparent attempt to counteract Russia’s expanding influence in the area.
According to Niger’s state television, military officials met with a Russian team on Sunday to discuss ways to boost bilateral collaboration.