Blinken says US must show it can ‘deliver results’ to Sahel

by | Mar 16, 2023 | World

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the United States and its Western allies must show they “can deliver results” in the Sahel region of Africa, amid the growing influence of the Russian Wagner mercenary group.Speaking during a historic trip to Niger, Blinken said Washington has pursued a “comprehensive” approach that focuses on security but also “on good governance, on development, upon creating opportunity on being responsive to the needs of people”.
“I think that is exactly the difference maker,” Blinken said during a joint press conference with Nigerien Foreign Minister Hassoumi Massaoudou, striking a contrast with what the Wagner Group could offer the region.
“We’ve already seen it end badly in a number of places,” Blinken said of the group’s interventions. “Where Wagner has been present, bad things have been inevitable.”
The trip marks the first time a US secretary of state has visited the country. Earlier in the day, Blinken met with Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum and announced a raft of regional initiatives, including $150m in new humanitarian assistance for the Sahel, bringing the total to $233m for the fiscal year, according to the US Department of State.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken with Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum during their meeting at the presidential palace in Niamey, Niger [Boureima Hama/AP Photo]
Blinken’s trip to Niger follows his visit, earlier this week, to the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa and is part of a wider pledge by US President Joe Biden’s administration to better engage with Africa.
It also comes as widespread d …

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