West African bloc holds talks in Niger with junta By Reuters

© Reuters. The ECOWAS Committee of Chiefs of Defense personnel quick journalism on strategies to release its standby force to the Republic of Niger, in Accra, Ghana, August 18, 2023. REUTERS/Francis Kokoroko

By Felix Onuah and Boureima Balima

ABUJA/NIAMEY (Reuters) – A delegation from West Africa’s primary local bloc ECOWAS flew to Niger’s capital Niamey on Saturday to hold talks with the junta, an ECOWAS source informed Reuters, as the bloc pursues diplomatic methods to reverse the July 26 coup.

Coup leaders’ approval of the objective signifies a possible determination to work out after the bloc on Friday doubled-down on its danger to utilize force as a last hope to bring back democracy, stating a concealed “D-Day” had actually been concurred for a possible military intervention.

While previous ECOWAS objectives have actually been rebuffed, Saturday’s delegation was fulfilled at Niamey airport by the junta-appointed prime minister and was because of hold talks with the self-declared authorities, the source stated, speaking on condition of privacy.

The group that flew in was led by Nigeria’s previous military leader Abdulsalami Abubakar and consisted of ECOWAS commission president Omar Touray, the source stated.

There was no instant remark from the junta, which has actually held president Mohamed Bazoum given that taking power in spite of global require his release.

ECOWAS has actually taken a more difficult position on the Niger coup, the larger area’s seventh in 3 years, than it did on previous ones. The trustworthiness of the bloc is at stake since it had stated it would endure no additional such overthrows.

Niger likewise has tactical significance for local and international powers since of its uranium and oil reserves and function as a center for foreign soldiers associated with the battle versus the insurgents connected to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

Underscoring the interests at stake, the U.S. State Department stated on Saturday it had actually sent out a brand-new ambassador to Niger whose “diplomatic focus will be to advocate for a diplomatic solution that preserves the constitutional order.”

The junta’s vow to withstand external pressure to stand down has actually been praised by numerous in Niger.

Thousands of its fans collected at an arena in Niamey on Saturday, frustrating organisers of an informal census of civilians ready to offer for non-military functions if ECOWAS does turn to require.


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