Algeria Offers Niger “A Six-Month Transition Plan”

Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf

Algeria has proposed to Niger’s military authorities a “six-month transition plan” before returning to constitutional and democratic order, rather than the three years they had recommended, its diplomatic head said on Tuesday.

General Abdourahamane Tiani, Niger’s new strongman, has called for “a transition period of no more than three years,” Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf said at a press conference in Algiers.

However, in our opinion, the process may be finished in six months, preventing the current coup from becoming a “fait accompli,” he added.

Mr. Attaf had recently returned from a trip to three ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) countries: Nigeria, Benin, and Ghana.

Lounes Magramane, his ministry’s second-in-command, had undertaken a similar travel to Niamey, where he met with Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine. However, he did not meet the deposed president, Mohamed Bazoum, according to Mr. Attaf.

The head of diplomacy did not specify whether or not Mr. Bazoum would be part of the transition plan proposed by Algeria.

Algiers is proposing political discussions “for a maximum of six months (…) with the participation and approval of all parties in Niger without exclusion”, under the supervision of a “civil authority headed by a consensual figure accepted by all sides of the political class”, in order to lead to the “restoration of constitutional order in the country”, according to Mr. Attaf.

The Minister reiterated the opposition of Algeria, which shares almost 1,000 km of borders with Niger, to any armed intervention in its neighboring country. “We reject a military solution, how could we authorize the use of our airspace for a military operation?” the minister stressed.

President Tebboune announced on August 6 that he “categorically rejects any external military intervention” in Niger, which he described as “a direct threat to Algeria”.

Following the July 26 overthrow of Niger’s President Bazoum, due to be elected in 2021, Ecowas announced on August 10 its intention to deploy a West African force “to restore constitutional order in Niger”.

Mr. Attaf warned that the “catastrophic effects” of a military solution could “push thousands of Nigeriens onto the path of migration”, and that a new conflict in the region could be “an additional incubator for terrorism and organized crime”.

Written by PH

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