Mali political crisis: No deal reached after Five ECOWAS leaders intervene
28 July 2023 | 1:58 pm
A one-day summit by West African leaders from Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and the Niger Republic ended in a stalemate after the leaders met with Mali’s President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and Muslim Cleric Mahmoud Dicko.
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West Africa's regional bloc on Wednesday said a military intervention in junta-ruled Niger was "the last resort" as Nigeria cut electricity supplies to intensify pressure on the country's coup leaders.
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West African leaders have agreed to keep all options, including military force, open to restore civilian rule in Niger. At a crisis ECOWAS summit in neighboring Nigeria, they ordered the deployment of a standby force. However, there are no signs Niger's junta will hand back power.
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.
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Niger's Junta said on Sunday they had gathered enough evidence to prosecute ousted President Mohamed Bazoum for high treason following his imprisonment last month and Niger's military subsequent dissolving of the elected government.
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.
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.
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.
Exactly six weeks after the coup in Niger, FRANCE 24 interviewed Abdel-Fatau Musah, the West African bloc ECOWAS's Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security. He insisted that ECOWAS was not discussing any kind of transition with the junta in Niamey and that instead the bloc continued to demand the release of President Mohamed Bazoum and the immediate restoration of constitutional order.
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