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EU condemns military coup in Niger

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The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, condemned on Friday the military coup in Niger.

The European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, condemned on Friday the military coup in Niger.

The military launched an assault on the presidential palace in the capital, Niamey, where the government was meeting on Thursday. President Mamadou Tandja was captured and the constitution suspended. Niger's air and land borders were closed.

"The HR [High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy] follows closely the political crisis that Niger has been facing. The EU shares AU [the African Union] and ECOWAS [the Economic Community of West African States] deep concern on the latest developments and supports their mediating efforts," a statement issued by Baroness Ashton's spokesperson said.

"The HR condemns the seizure of the power by a military coup d?etat in Niger and calls upon all actors involved to engage immediately in a democratic process allowing for rapid establishment of the constitutional order in the country," the statement reads.

Earlier, the African Union also condemned the coup. The organization said in a communique that its chief Jean Ping is following the situation "with concern" and "condemns the seizure of power by force that took place in Niger."

The chairman of ECOWAS, Nigerian acting President Goodluck Jonathan, said in a statement that the West African regional bloc "condemned all acts of ascension to power and remaining in power by unconstitutional means."

Niger has been in a major political crisis since August 2009, when Tandja amended the constitution to allow him to remain in office indefinitely.

In October 2009, parliamentary elections were held in Niger despite protests by the country's opposition and the international community. Tandja's ruling party, the National Movement for a Developing Society, won the elections.

 

BRUSSELS, February 19 (RIA Novosti)

 

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