Niger military leaders, who have recently overthrown the elected government of President Mohamed Bazoum, have denied U.S. Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland a meeting with the ousted leader.

"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," Nuland said at the U.S. state department's press briefing.

Nuland, who held hours of discussion with General Moussa Salaou Barmou and other military leaders, described her meeting as "difficult" adding that the generals "are quite firm in their view on how they want to proceed, and it does not comport with the constitution of Niger."

Nuland added, "If there is a desire on the part of the people who are responsible for this to return to constitutional order, we are prepared to help with that. We are prepared to help address concerns on all sides."

Nuland said that she has warned the junta leaders against the threat of strengthing ties with Russia's Wagner group."I got the sense in my meetings today that the people who have taken this action here understand very well the risks to their sovereignty when Wagner is invited in," Nuland added.

Nuland further said that she has made absolutely clear to the Junta leaders "what is at stake in our relationship and the economic and other kinds of support that we will legally have to cut off if democracy is not restored. You have probably seen we have already had to pause our assistance."

General Abdourahamane Tchiani, a former chief of the presidential guard to President Bazoum, seized power on July 26 riding on the wave of strong anti-France sentiment in the country.

There is strong resentment among many in Niger against former colonial power France. Niger military leaders have vowed to cut all ties with the European nation accusing it of failing to handle jihadists and supporting Bazoum under whom unemployment and poverty have risen manyfold.

The anti-France sentiment in the Sahel has grown recently after Burkina Faso and Mali cut ties with the European nation.

This article first appeared in IBTimes Nigeria edition.