France asks Niger junta to hold elections soon


France has told Niger’s military junta that democratic elections should be held as soon as possible, a spokesperson for the French foreign ministry said yesterday.

Members of the junta, which overthrew President Mamadou Tandja last month after he had ruled the country for more than a decade, met French diplomats in Paris on Monday. The Niger delegation was headed by junta spokesman Abdulkarim Goukoye.
“Our colleagues … reiterated that it is important to us that a constitutional rule of law be re-established, and that transparent and democratic elections be held as soon as possible,” the French spokesperson told reporters.

France maintains close ties with Niger, which produces around 7.5 % of the world’s uranium and is a major supplier to French nuclear power giant Areva.

The junta, known as the Supreme Council for the Restoration of Democracy, has promised to hold elections but has not given a timetable.

Pic: President Mamadou Tandja of Niger