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U.S. Department of States
97/01/15 Statement: Niger
Office of the Spokesman

Press Statement by Nicholas Burns/Spokesman
January 15, 1997


The United States is deeply concerned about the arrest and imprisonment 
yesterday of opposition party leaders Mahamane Ousmane, Mahamadou 
Issoufou, and Tanja Mamadou and the announced use of a special tribunal 
by the government to deal with political crimes.  The U.S. calls on the 
Government of Niger to ensure the safety and well-being of all those in 
detention and to conduct any judicial proceedings openly and in a manner 
that is fair.

This latest repression of the peaceful political opposition clearly 
demonstrates the regime's continued determination to thwart democracy 
and basic human rights.  This is another deplorable step in the wake of 
the military's seizure of power a year ago and its conduct of fraudulent 
Presidential elections in July..  These actions inevitably undermine 
international confidence in Niger.

The U.S. has repeatedly expressed its concern about the economic 
ramifications of Niger's political situation.  The U.S. terminated its 
assistance program to Niger in response to last year's coup.  Political 
change, including early restoration of democracy and respect for basic 
human rights, is critical to Niger's political development and economic 

The United States again calls on Niger's regime to institute an early 
return to civilian, democratic government and to respect the rights of 
its people in the interests of Niger, its economic well-being, and its 
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