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Niger is open to diplomacy with ECOWAS

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By Mercy Kelani

General Abdourahamane Tchiani says Niger & Nigeria are sisters and brothers.

In Niger, the leaders of the coup said that they are ready to accept diplomacy to settle the disagreement with the regional bloc in West Africa; this is according to a group of senior Islamic scholars in Nigeria who met in Niamey with the military leaders in the state. The visitation came up as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) examined its choices to return democratic rule in Niger which includes capable military intervention, following the dethronement of President Bazoum in July.

The push for a non-violent resolution has being in motion by the West African bloc. President Bola Tinubu, ECOWAS Chairman and Nigerian President, confirmed the mission on Saturday to Niamey through the delegation of scholars that promote dialogue. Sheikh Abdullahi Bala Lau, the man who chaired the delegation, said that the group’s meeting with General Abdourahamane Tchian, the military president, lasted for many hours. He stated that the military men are ready to explore Peace and diplomacy in settling the conflict.

Decisions made by ECOWAS are fully supported by France.

From his report, Tchiani stressed that the historic unity between Nigeria and Niger is like sisters and brothers that need to settle their conflicts without violence as they are not just neighbouring countries. After the meeting, there were no instant responses from the leaders of the military, however, Tchiani’s comments are one out of the few recent affirmations that the system of Negotiation is open. The coup leaders’ former rejections of the diplomatic efforts by ECOWAS, U.S and others signaled another conflict in West Africa’s Sahel region.

Also, armed groups have increased their impacts in this region in recent years. Last week, with diplomacy unsure, ECOWAS ensured the activation of a standby military force which are prepared to be deployed as an end action in case talks failed. More negotiations are been pushed by the bloc currently. The spokesperson said that the bloc’s parliament mentioned in their speech to ask Tinubu for authorization to visit Niger. Sebastien Lecornu, French Defence Minister, stated in an interview that the current decisions made by ECOWAS are fully supported by France.

Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Mali, ready to form alliance with Niger.

Military supports have been confirmed from Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Mali to the new military authorities in Niger, and information on the bloc’s military intervention could, additionally, strain regional ties. A delegation was sent on Saturday by Tchiani, which was led by his defence chief General Moussa Salaou Barmou, as an appreciation, to the Guinean capital Conakry, for their assistance and support — an agreement to the desire of the coup leaders to form alliances as they get through to power and regional.

According to a clip shared by the presidency, the interim President Mamady Doumbouya of Guinea, at a meeting, stated that they are Pan-African, and when the people encountered problems they are always there and present to resolve it. However, according to the footage, it was not stated by Doumbouya, the man who directed a military coup in Guinea in September 2021, whether the support from Conakry to the Niger coup leaders, includes military support if perhaps military force is deployed by ECOWAS.

France and the US have over 2,500 military soldiers in Sahel region.

Burkina Faso and Mali have already stated that they would provide support to defend Niger. The July 26 military coup is seen as a shock to various Western nations, which pictured Niger as a colleague in the Sahel region that could be partnered with to conquer a developing conflict by groups connected to ISIL (ISIS) and al-Qaeda. France and the US have over 2,500 military soldiers in the region and other European countries altogether have investments of hundreds of millions of dollars in training Niger’s forces and military assistance.

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