In the wake of weeks spent tolerating the actions of the military junta that forcefully removed President Mohammed Bazoum from power in Niger, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has at last chosen to confront the new coup leaders.
ECOWAS, the sub-regional alliance, has issued a directive to deploy a standby force in order to reinstate constitutional order. This decision comes after the leader of the Niger Coup, General Abdourahmane Tchiani, declined to meet with a special delegation designated by ECOWAS and even rejected a delegation led by Acting Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland from the United States.
The ECOWAS Heads of State and Government have also agreed to continue pursuing diplomatic dialogue while maintaining the sanctions imposed during their previous summit.
Former Nigerian military head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar, was dispatched by the ECOWAS to mediate in Niger. He was accompanied by influential figures like the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Abubakar, and Alieu Touray, the president of the ECOWAS Commission.
President Dr. Omar Touray of the ECOWAS Commission announced that the military leaders of the region have been given further instructions to activate the standby force as a last resort to restore President Mohammed Bazoum’s constitutional government.
President Bola Tinubu, Chair of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, expressed optimism about achieving a diplomatic resolution to the crisis. He emphasized the importance of engaging all parties involved, including the coup leaders, in discussions to encourage them to relinquish power and reinstate President Bazoum.
Tinubu reiterated the commitment to democracy, human rights, and the well-being of the Nigerien people. He stressed the need for diplomatic negotiations as the foundation of their approach while not ruling out the use of force as a final option.
Resolutions from the summit included the closure of land and air borders between ECOWAS member nations and Niger, a ban on financial transactions involving the Niger military and coup supporters within the region, and a travel ban on the junta, its officials, and their families until democratic institutions are restored.
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