Niger Coup Leaders Agree To Transition Terms

This video frame grab image obtained by AFP from ORTN – Télé Sahel on July 26, 2023 shows Colonel Major Amadou Abdramane (C), spokesperson for the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) speaking during a televised statement.(Photo by ORTN – Télé Sahel / AFP)

The ruling military in Niger has agreed to the terms of a return to civilian administration and will offer the idea to a regional bloc, the leading diplomat from mediator Togo stated Thursday.

Togo Foreign Minister Robert Dussey announced on Niger’s national television that he had achieved an agreement “on the content and timing of the transition” with Niger’s junta-appointed prime minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine and foreign minister Bakary Yaou Sangare.

“We are ready to present the plan… to the mediating heads of state and the ECOWAS Commission,” he said, referring to the Economic Community of West African States.

After Niger became the latest country in the Sahel to experience a coup with July’s ouster of President Mohamed Bazoum, the regional grouping imposed tough sanctions and suspended trade, while also floating the option of military intervention.

The sanctions and suspension of international finance and aid have left Niger, already one of the world’s poorest countries, economically hanging by a thread.

In October, the military leaders announced a 40-percent cut in the 2023 budget due to the “heavy sanctions imposed by international and regional organisations”.

On Sunday, ECOWAS leaders in Abuja said any easing of the punitive measures against Niger was contingent on a “short transition” period.

The bloc also decided that a committee made up of the presidents of Benin, Togo and Sierra Leone would lead negotiations with the Nigerien military leaders on the commitments to be implemented.

According to Niger’s Tele Sahel, mediator Dussey will return to Niamey in January alongside his Sierra Leone colleague, Timothy Kabba.

On Thursday, ECOWAS announced that Niger had been “suspended from all decision-making bodies” of the organization “until constitutional order is re-established.”

Military authorities in Niger have previously stated that a return to civilian control may take up to three years.

Since the coup, Niger, one of the Sahel countries waging long-running and brutal insurgencies by Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State group, has scaled back security collaboration with Western partners and withdrew French troops stationed there.

Written by PH

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