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Meeting With Niger Coup Leaders Fruitful, Nobody Wants War – Abdulsalami

The ECOWAS envoy expressed optimism that diplomacy won’t fail in addressing the political instability in Niger Republic.


Former Nigerian Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, at Aso Villa in Abuja on Tuesday, August 22, 2023

 

Former Nigerian Head of State, Abdulsalami Abubakar, has said that his delegation’s meeting with Niger Republic coup leaders over the weekend was fruitful.

The special envoy of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said diplomacy won’t fail to restore the democratically elected government of deposed President Mohamed Bazoum.

Abdulsalami briefed ECOWAS Chairperson and Nigerian President, Bola Tinubu, on Tuesday, over the outcome of his delegation’s meeting with the coup leaders in the neighbouring country.

 

 

Addressing reporters after the meeting at Aso Villa in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, Abdulsalami said nobody wants war, expressing optimism that diplomacy won’t fail.

“As you are aware, the ECOWAS Heads of State have made me an envoy to Niger Republic and over the weekend, we were there to see the military people and discuss and find a way out of the lacuna we find ourselves,” the envoy said.

“I must say that our visit to Niger was very fruitful. It has open an avenue to start talking and hopefully, we will get somewhere.

“We’ve started talking; they made their own points and I made mine and I report to the ECOWAS chairperson and he will now consult with his colleagues.

“Hopefully, diplomacy will see the better of the day. Nobody wants to go to war; it doesn’t pay anybody. Our leaders have said if all fail, and I don’t think all will fail; we will get somewhere, we will get out of this mess.”

The coup leader, Abdourahamane Tiani, had said the junta will return to civilian rule within three years but ECOWAS rejected the move.

Meanwhile, the African Union has suspended Niger Republic over the ongoing situation.

Army officers toppled Bazoum on July 26, prompting the West African regional bloc ECOWAS to threaten to use force to reinstate him.

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

It has said it is ready to act, even as it continues to pursue hopes for a diplomatic solution.

The coup has heightened international worries over the Sahel, which faces growing jihadist insurgencies linked to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
Niger is the fourth nation in West Africa since 2020 to suffer a coup, following Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali.

The juntas in Burkina Faso and Mali have said that any military intervention in their neighbour would be considered a “declaration of war” against their countries.

The coup is the fifth in Niger’s history since the impoverished landlocked state gained independence from France in 1960.

Bazoum’s election in 2021 was a landmark, opening the way to the country’s first peaceful transition of power.

He has been held with his family at the president’s official residence since the coup, with growing international concern over his conditions in detention.