ECOWAS Rejects Niger Junta's Three Year Transition Plan

The Economic Communi­ty of West African States (ECOWAS) has rejected Ni­ger junta’s three-year power transition plan.

ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security, Abdel-Fatau Musa, stated this during an interview with the BBC on Sunday.

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This is as several thou­sand people demonstrated in the capital of Niger on Sunday in support of last month’s military coup, whose leader has warned against outside intervention while proposing a three-year transition of power.

The demonstrators chant­ed slogans hostile to former colonial power France and the West African regional bloc ECOWAS, which is con­sidering a potential military operation to reinstate Pres­ident Mohamed Bazoum if negotiations with coup lead­ers fail.

The Sahel state’s new military leaders have offi­cially banned demonstra­tions but in practice, those in support of the coup are permitted.

The demonstrators waved placards saying, ‘Stop the military intervention’ and ‘No to sanctions’, a reference to cuts in financial aid and trade restrictions imposed by the Economic Commu­nity of West African States (ECOWAS) since the July 26 coup.

Sunday’s rally was ac­companied by musicians endorsing the new military regime.

The latest in a string of pro-coup rallies came a day after the new ruler in Nia­mey, General Abdouraha­mane Tiani, warned that a foreign military incursion into Niger would not be a “walk in the park”.

In a televised address late Saturday, Tiani also said he did not want to “confiscate” power and promised a re­turn to civilian rule within three years.

Niger’s new leaders have accused France, a close Ba­zoum ally, of being behind the anti-coup stance taken by ECOWAS, which on Sat­urday made a fresh push for a diplomatic solution by sending to Niamey a delega­tion led by former Nigerian leader Abdulsalami Abuba­kar.

Unlike a previous mission in early August, this time the delegation held talks with Tiani and also met Bazoum, who is being held with his family at the presidential palace and could be facing treason charges.

Images on Niger televi­sion showed Bazoum smil­ing and shaking hands with members of the delegation.

“There is still hope,” Abubakar said in televised comments, saying the visit had resulted in finding “a key for pursuing talks until an outcome for this difficult situation”.

An ECOWAS source con­firmed that the delegation had returned to Abuja on Sunday.

In his televised address on Saturday, Tiani alleged that ECOWAS was “getting ready to attack Niger by set­ting up an occupying army in collaboration with a for­eign army”, without saying which country he meant.

But he added: “If an at­tack were to be undertaken against us, it will not be the walk in the park some people seem to think.”

Tiani also announced a 30-day period of “national dialogue” to draw up “con­crete proposals” to lay the foundations of “a new con­stitutional life”.

ECOWAS leaders say they have to act now that Niger has become the fourth West African nation since 2020 to suffer a coup, following Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali.

The bloc has agreed to ac­tivate a “standby force” as a last resort to restore democ­racy in Niger.

The Sahel region is strug­gling with growing jihad­ist insurgencies linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.

Those behind the military takeovers have pointed to frustration over the violence to justify seizing power.

On Sunday, Pope Francis urged a diplomatic solution to a political crisis in Niger and its potential impact on stability in the region.

“I join with prayer the efforts of the international community to find a peace­ful solution as soon as possi­ble for the good of everyone,” Francis said in an address after his Angelus prayer in St Peter’s Square in Rome.


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