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Moustapha Niass


Senegalese politician and diplomat

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Created: 4th Feb 2008
Modified: 5th Feb 2008
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Moustapha Niasse (born November4, 1939) is a Senegalese politician and diplomat. He served as Foreign Minister of Senegal from 1978 to 1984 and from 1993 to 1998. He served as Prime Minister for the first time for a few weeks in 1983, and again from 2000 to 2001.

Niasse was born in Keur Madiabel, Senegal. He was Director of the Presidential Cabinet from to 1970. In March 1979, he became Minister of Town Planning, Housing and Environment, serving in that position until September 1979, when he became Minister of Foreign Affairs. He was promoted to the rank of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs in January 1981 and served in that position until April 1984. He briefly served as Prime Minister for a month in April 1983 prior to the abolition of that position. Niasse served as Minister of Foreign Affairs for a second time from June 1993 to July 1998. He then became Representative of the Secretary general of the United Nations in the Great Lakes countries until 1999.

During the late 1990s he broke with President Abdou Diouf and formed his own party, the Alliance of Progress Forces. He ran for president in the February 2000 presidential election against Diouf and long-time opposition leader Abdoulaye Wade. Niasse received third place and 16.77% of the vote, while Diouf and Wade went to a runoff. Niasse supported Wade in the second round, and Wade promised him the position of Prime Minister; his support contributed to Wade's victory over Diouf. After Wade took office in early April 2000, he appointed Niasse as his Prime Minister. Niasse served as Prime Minister until he resigned on March 3, 2001 due to the difficult relationship between himself and Wade.

In 2002, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed Niasse to be his envoy to the DemocraticRepublic of Congo in attempts to form a national unity government there.

In December 2006, Niasse was chosen as the candidate of the coalition Alternative 2007, composed of ten opposition parties, for the February 2007 presidential election. He was briefly detained by police in late January 2007, along with other opposition leaders, after participating in a banned protest regarding the delay of the next parliamentary election until June. During the campaign, Niasse blamed Wade for the Joola sea disaster; Wade in turn said that Niasse was a liar and that he was fortunate that he had not been jailed for crime he allegedly committed while serving as Prime Minister.

According to final results, Niasse took fourth place in the election with 5.93% of the vote. He won one of the country's 34 departement, that of Nioro. He rejected the results, alleged fraud, and said that the election was "a farce", but also said that he did not intend to file an appeal regarding the results.

Soon after the election, Wade mentioned Niasse as one of several opposition politicians who would be facing prosecution for corruption. Wade renewed an allegation, previously made in 2002, that Niasse sold diplomatic passports to Taiwanese businessmen and others from that country.

Biographical Information
Moustapha Niass
(At a Glance)
  City: Dakar
Place of Origin: Senegal

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