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Joseph I Diatta

May 15, 1948 ~ April 19, 2020 (age 71)

Obituary

Joseph Diatta, who has died aged 71, was one of the pillars of Nigerien diplomacy.

The life and career of Joseph Diatta represents more than thirty years of solid contribution to the field of diplomacy and international relations. His long and distinguished diplomatic career spans three continents and covers posts in Asia, Africa and the United States. As a consummate diplomat, Mr. Diatta used his talents to help establish a positive reputation for his country.

Joseph Diatta was born on May 15, 1948, in Fadama, Niger. He studied Public Law at the University of Abidjan in Ivory Coast, before going on to the National School of Administration (ENA) in Paris, France where he studied diplomacy. Upon his return home, he occupied a number of high offices within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation including Secretary General and Director of international organizations. 

He moved quickly to ambassadorial rank at the age of 31, his itinerary as a diplomat taking him to a number of key countries. He was in Ethiopia from 1979 to 1982, where he also served as Permanent Representative to the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and non-resident Ambassador to Kenya, Tanzania, Angola and Mozambique. He was then appointed Ambassador of Niger to the United States, a position he held and served concurrently as that of Permanent Representative of Niger to the United Nations in New York, under 

Secretary General Kofi Annan. Before occupying the post of State Protocol General Director to the Presidency of the Republic of Niger, Mr. Diatta also served as Ambassador of Niger in the People's Republic of China, as well as non-resident Ambassador to Japan and the Republic of Korea. By 1988, Joseph Diatta had emerged as a senior Nigerien diplomat.

A tough and effective negotiator, Mr. Diatta is considered to be one of the chief architects of the 1995 successful peace agreement which reconciled the Tuareg armed rebellion in Niger. In 1997, he was appointed a second time Ambassador of Niger to the United States, a position he held until 2005. At the end of this last mission, he was admitted to assert his retirement rights, as a dignitary Ambassador. Until recently, he served as International Consultant to the United Nations Office for West Africa in Dakar in Senegal. 

Marked by a sense of duty, commitment and passion in the service of his country Niger, renowned for his command of English and his drafting abilities, and respected for his diplomatic skills, especially his discretion, Mr. Diatta was always engagingly friendly and unruffled. 

He received the high distinction of “Commander of the Order of Merit of Niger” in 2004. He was an avid reader, enjoyed music and a great family man. He is survived by his wife Haoua of more than 40 years, his son Ahmadou Jacques, daughters Aicha Sylvia, Myriam and Linda Leila and three grandchildren Diawadou, Naïma and Jayden.  

Funeral Services will be held at Ivy Hill Cemetery in Laurel Maryland. 

Memorial services will be held at a later date that will be communicated to Relatives and Friends.

Service is private due to the coronovirus crisis.  Please feel free to go to the Tribute Wall to send a message to the family.  

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