Photo: Screenshot from a video on youtube.com
The alleged cynical statement about Ambassador Victoria Nuland shared in this Facebook post is fabricated. No official, established, relevant and credible medium has transmitted such a statement from the so-called Niger “revolutionary government” – that they did not want US money and even that they allegedly recommended the funds to be used for a “weight-loss program for Victoria Nuland”. The fabricated statement appeared on Reddit, but the comments that follow make it clear that it is an untrue statement and that someone was kidding
We are fact-checking a post on the social network Facebook (screenshot here) sharing a photograph of Аmbassador Victoria Nuland, who is an American diplomat with 33 years of experience, saying the following:
The revolutionary government of Niger responded to the USA concerning the termination of the aid they receive: We don’t want your money, use it to fund a weight-loss program for Victoria Nuland.
This statement, attributed to the military junta in Niger, however, is fabricated. A coup d’etat i.e., putsch took place in Niger, but the new government has not been recognized as legitimate by the USA, nor by the European Union.
Part of the army of this West-African country announced on national television that it carried out a coup d’etat, suspended the Constitution, dissolved central government institutions and closed the borders of the country, while President Mohamed Bazoum was under house arrest in the Presidential Palace in the capital city Niamey, under the control of the Guard.
On 7th August 2023, the official website of the State Department published a statement by Victoria Nuland concerning the situation in Niger, while she was on diplomatic visit to the country. So, it is true that she undertook a diplomatic visit to Niger after the coup d’etat in an attempt to find a diplomatic solution to the problems, but with no success. What is not mentioned, however, in any official, established, relevant and credible medium is the alleged statement made by the so-called “revolutionary government” of Niger, i.e., the putschists, that they did not want USA’s money, and even recommending the funds to ”be used on a weight-loss program for Victoria Nuland”. This statement is fabricated.
We met with the self-proclaimed chief of defense of this operation, General Barmou, and three of the colonels supporting him. I will say that these conversations were extremely frank and at times quite difficult because again, we were pushing for a negotiated solution. It was not easy to get traction there. They are quite firm in their view on how they want to proceed, and it does not comport with the Constitution of Niger. So again, we were very frank about what’s at stake. We kept open the door to continue talking. But again, it was difficult today and I will be straight up about that. Also, we asked before we arrived and throughout the day for an opportunity to meet with President Bazoum to get his perspective directly – we’ve talked to him on the phone, but we haven’t seen him – and that was never granted. We also asked for some gestures of health and welfare; he is in a very difficult situation under virtual house arrest, along with his son and his wife. I hope over the coming period, the people responsible for the current situation will come back to those requests. We also were not granted an opportunity to see the self-proclaimed President, Mr. Tiani. So we were left to have to depend on Mr. Barmou to make clear, again, what is at stake. So a difficult mission, but a necessary one from the perspective of American interest in trying to see if this very difficult situation can be solved diplomatically, stated Nuland after the diplomatic visit.
All global media reported that the new government in Niger, which is not recognized by the USA or the EU, refused diplomatic assistance from the US for returning the democratically elected President and the Constitutionality of Niger. Subsequently, US assistance for Niger is put on hold.
The fabricated statement shared in the post – refusing US financial assistance for Niger and the cynicism for the funds to be redirected to a weight-loss program for Victoria Nuland appeared on Reddit. But the comments that follow the post make it clear that it is an untrue statement and that someone was kidding.
ECOWAS leaders will have a summit to decide about the Action Plan for Niger related to the fact that the putsch leaders refused to withdraw. The putschists in Niger have already published a list of 21 persons, future ministers in the new government, pushing their agenda before the Summit of the regional leaders demanding their retraction from the coup d’etat.
Due to all of the above-noted facts, we assess the post as untrue.