ECOWAS to hold another meeting on Thursday as Niger junta show no sign of backing down
09 August 2023 | 12:07 pm
Pressure mounts on Niger's military junta to re-install the democratic government. The US says there is still time for a diplomatic exit to the crisis, as ECOWAS threatens military intervention to restore President Bazoum to power. Meanwhile, France slashes millions in aid to Burkina Faso in response to its support for Niger's junta. And lastly, Senegal's most prominent opposition leader is hospitalised, following a hunger strike in prison. Ousmane Sonko began refusing food late last month in protest at what he says are politically motivated charges.
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Regional analysts have said the move by West African leaders to activate a standby force to counter the junta in Niger represents a failure of diplomacy and is unlikely to succeed.
Niger's coup leaders say they will prosecute deposed President Mohamed Bazoum for "high treason." Earlier, they reportedly said they were willing to negotiate with the West African bloc ECOWAS.
Niger's junta on Tuesday said that it was open to talks to resolve a regional crisis caused by last month's military coup, while Russia and the United States called for a peaceful resolution.
West African defence chiefs met in Ghana on Thursday to discuss a possible military intervention in Niger after coup leaders there ignored their deadline to step down. Nigeria has emerged as the strongest voice pushing for military action but all the ECOWAS leaders at the summit said diplomacy remains their preferred route out of the crisis.
Niger's coup leader said "our ambition is not to confiscate power." This comes as an ECOWAS delegation arrived for peace talks after indicating a standby force was ready to intervene.
July's general election produced a hung parliament in which no clear ruling majority has been formed. The king now decides who will go on to form a new government.
ECOWAS sanctions on Niger appear to be a double-edged sword. Many Nigerians living near the border with Niger, which Nigeria shut after the coup, say the economic and humanitarian impacts are enormous.
Protests broke out after it was revealed that the minister had met with her Israeli counterpart, possibly breaking Libyan law. The minister is now facing an investigation.
France says it will not budge in its refusal to engage with Niger's coup leaders. A month after their takeover, they issued a Monday deadline to the French ambassador to leave their country, but Paris has insisted its envoy will stay put. Also, Africa sets its own stage in Kenya for conversations about its experience of the ravages of climate change. With the first ever Africa climate summit now a week away, we speak to its CEO about the existential stakes faced by the continent.
The EU foreign ministers met to discuss ways to help West Africa's ECOWAS regional group handle the military takeover in Niger. The meeting came the junta stripped the French ambassador of diplomatic immunity.
It has been a month since the military seized power in Niger. The ECOWAS bloc of African states has imposed sanctions, and access to food is getting scarce in the landlocked country. In the city of Tillaberi, people are feeling the effects.
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