The United States established diplomatic relations with Niger in 1960, following its independence from France. U.S. relations with Niger since its independence have generally been close and friendly. In 2010, a military junta took power after overthrowing the former president, who had tried to extend his rule unconstitutionally. A new president was inaugurated in 2011, returning Niger to constitutional, civilian rule. A poor 2011 harvest, the violence in Libya, and the security threat from al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Nigeria-based group Boko Haram have complicated the government's efforts to improve Niger's economy, strengthen governance, and address human rights. The United States has commended Niger for its actions to consolidate and advance democratic institutions in its own country and to promote stability in the region, including its support for refugees who have fled the 2012 turbulence in neighboring Mali.