EU defense ministers are considering their response to the military coup in Niger at a meeting in Toledo, Spain on Wednesday.
Germany and France are pushing EU members to sanction the military putschists and organizations that support them, multiple diplomats said.
Arriving at the talks, top EU diplomat Josep Borrell said EU defense ministers would examine the suitability of sanctioning the coup’s leaders and possible impacts on military and immigration cooperation.
Declining to be drawn on further detail, Borrell said that after another coup in the region, the situation in Africa’s Sahel “is not exactly improving.”
EU member states are cautious about worsening the situation.
Niger is the latest country in the Sahel after Burkina Faso and Mali to fall into the military’s hands.
Just over a month ago, Borrell named Niger an “essential partner” after a visit.
For France, Niger had been an important partner in its anti-terror fight especially after the military leaders in Mali and Burkina Faso forced the withdrawal of French troops from their countries.
Siemtje Möller, a German State Secretary for defense, spoke in favor of sanctions to “build up pressure” and restore democratic order in the country.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has threatened the use of force to reinstate the Nigerien constitution.
Möller said supporting such a move was not under discussion.
The ministers’ meeting came just as the military in Gabon, south of the Sahel, also announced a coup.