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US State Department expects to be able to evacuate Americans from Niger on charter flight taking diplomats out

By Jennifer Hansler and Kylie Atwood, CNN

(CNN) — The US State Department expects to be able to evacuate some Americans who wish to leave Niger on a charter flight transporting non-emergency diplomats and family members out of the country, a senior State Department official said.

The official said that the State Department has been in touch with “hundreds” of Americans but not all of those people have indicated that they want to leave, and they said that they are able to meet the demand of those who said they want to leave.

Amid tensions in the country, the State Department on Wednesday ordered the evacuation of non-emergency personnel and family members from Niger.

The official and another said that the situation in Niger remains calm, calling it a “permissive environment,” unlike in Sudan, where it was extremely dangerous and difficult for those wishing to depart to even access the airport. A “handful” of Americans have already gotten out on flights led by allies like France and Italy.

But even as US officials continue to say that the situation “remains calm” in Niger at this time, there are deep concerns about what the instability in the country could mean for the entire region, which is why the US is heavily engaged in their own negotiations as well as those by partners like the Economic Community of West African States.

“We’re concentrating on our assistance to them and what this means for the whole of the Sahel. It’s not just Niger that’s at stake. It’s the countries along the coast in West Africa and Nigeria – have a huge stake in negotiations succeeding,” the second senior State Department official said.

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Article Topic Follows: CNN - US Politics

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