Ambassador Andrew Young, deputy to the commander for civil-military engagement traveled to Niger to attend the presidential inauguration of Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum, April 2. U.S. Ambassador to Niger, Eric P. Whitaker led the delegation, which included representatives from diplomacy, defense, and development.
Barbara Hughes, senior development advisor for U.S. Africa Command, and U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Fletcher Washington, U.S. Africa Command’s deputy director of operations accompanied Ambassadors Whitaker and Young.
“I was honored to represent U.S. Africa Command in a delegation demonstrating American diplomatic, development, and defense support to Niger. We were pleased to join distinguished partners from several African and European nations to mark this moment in Niger’s history,” said Young. “The transfer of power between two democratically elected presidents is a testament to Niger strengthening its democracy at home and serving as an impressive example abroad,” he added.
Niger is a critical West African partner and plays an important role in contributing to regional security and countering violent extremist organizations.
“We value our long-standing partnership with Niger, a nation on the frontlines fighting threats in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions. We honor and share the sacrifices of the Nigerien people in our collective struggle against extremism and instability,” said Young.
Washington also highlighted Niger’s significance to security in the region.
“Niger is vital to countering violent extremist organization efforts,” said Washington. “We value the relationship we have built over the years and look forward to continued cooperation that contributes to regional stability.”
President Bazoum follows President Mahamadou Issoufou. The inauguration marked the first transition of power between two democratically elected presidents since the nation gained its independence in 1960.