Niger Military Junta Rejects Diplomatic Mission From ECOWAS, UN & US

Niger military junta on Tuesday rejected the latest diplomatic mission from African countries aimed at restoring constitutional order after a July 26 military coup. News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the military junta in Niger Republic resisted pressure from the United States and the United Nations to come to the negotiating table.

Heads of State from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are preparing for a summit on Thursday to discuss their standoff with the Niger military junta, which defied an August 6, 2023 deadline to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum. The possibility of military intervention will be discussed but ECOWAS has said it is a last resort.

The African Union (AU) sent a joint mission with representatives of the UN and ECOWAS to Niger Republic on Tuesday but they were denied permission to enter the country by the military junta, which has closed Niger’s airspace, French magazine Jeune Afrique reported.

Tension has remained high in Niger Republic as the military junta refused entry to a negotiating mission planned onTuesday by the United Nations (UN), African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). U.S. diplomat Victoria Nuland spoke with members of the junta in the capital, Niamey, on Monday, but was not allowed to meet either the detained President Mohamed Bazoum or the military ruler General Abdourahamane Tchiani.

However, the U.S. government said it would continue to hope for a diplomatic solution, State Department spokesman, Matthew Miller, said on Tuesday. Meanwhile, the military governments of Burkina Faso and Mali have called on the UN Security Council not to allow military action against Niger Republic.

ECOWAS had threatened a possible military action against the junta who seized power in Niger, suspended the constitution, and imprisoned the president. Burkina Faso Foreign Minister Olivia Rouamba and his Malian counterpart, Abdoulaye Diop in a letter addressed to the UN Security Council and the African Union urged them to prevent, by all means at its disposal, armed action against a sovereign state, the consequences of which would be unforeseeable in their magnitude.”

Both countries said the aim was to avoid the deterioration of the security situation with the multiplication and spread of terrorists’ groups and a humanitarian tragedy. Burkina Faso and Mali are currently suspended from ECOWAS following their military coups in 2020 and 2022 respectively and have clearly shown support for the military rulers in Niger Republic. They declared that they would not support the ECOWAS sanctions and that any military action would be seen as a declaration of war against their own states.

Austine Ikeru
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