UN General Assembly Clash
Tensions flare at the United Nations as Niger’s military junta accuses UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of hindering their participation in the General Assembly’s 78th session. A dispute over credentials lies at the heart of this diplomatic standoff.
Competing Letters of Credence
The conflict centers on conflicting letters of credence that the junta in power in Niger and the ousted government have presented. Bakary Yaou Sangaré, who formerly served as Niger’s ambassador to the UN and now holds the position of foreign minister, was set to represent Niger at the assembly. However, the junta alleges that Guterres refused to acknowledge their official list of delegates and granted the former foreign affairs minister’s request to revoke Niger’s permanent representative to the UN.
UN Protocol for Competing Credentials
When faced with competing credentials from a member state, the United Nations follows established protocol. The matter is referred to the Credentials Committee, which comprises nine members and deliberates and reports on the credentials of representatives. This mechanism is often employed when political transitions result in competing claims of legitimacy.
Stalemate Over Niger’s Representation
The United Nations has encountered similar situations in the past, such as with Burma and Afghanistan, where decisions on credentials have been repeatedly postponed. In these cases, the ambassadors of the former governments continue to represent their respective countries at the UN.
Niger’s Political Turmoil
Niger experienced a military coup on July 26, resulting in the removal of President Bazoum and the establishment of a new administration. The coup was met with condemnation from Western nations, global bodies, and the regional bloc ECOWAS. The ongoing dispute at the UN underscores the complex dynamics following the coup and the struggle for international recognition.
Niger’s military junta accuses UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres of obstructing their participation in the UN General Assembly due to a dispute over credentials. This diplomatic clash sheds light on the challenges of navigating political transitions and competing claims of representation.