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Niger Republic impasse: ECOWAS embraces diplomatic negotiations, dialogue, dumps military action 

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“Only through this comprehensive assessment can we collectively chart a sustainable path towards lasting peace, stability, and prosperity in Niger”

Sixteen days after ECOWAS slammed sanctions on Niger Republic and threatened to deploy soldiers to restore sackee President Mohamed Bazoum, the regional body on Thursday sang a new tune away from applying force to use diplomatic negotiations and dialogue.

The ECOWAS Chairman and Nigeria’s President Bola Tinubu said this in Abuja at 2nd Extraordinary Summit of Heads of Government of the West African organization on the socio-political situation in the Republic of Niger.

Persecondnews had reported that mutinous soldiers had overthrown and detained Bazoum on July 26, saying their intervention was to save the country from the violence.

Tinubu said:”Moreso, in reaffirming our relentless commitment to democracy, human rights, and the well-being of the people of Niger, it is crucial that we “prioritize diplomatic negotiations and dialogue” as the bedrock of our approach.

“Only through this comprehensive assessment can we collectively chart a sustainable path towards lasting peace, stability, and prosperity in Niger.

“We must engage all parties involved, including the coup leaders, in earnest discussions to convince them to relinquish power and reinstate President Bazoum. It is our duty to exhaust all avenues of engagement to ensure a swift return to constitutional governance in Niger.

“During that initial meeting, we voiced our solidarity with the people of Niger and their democratically elected President, H.E Mohamed Bazoum, by condemning the military takeover and the unjust detention of their democratically elected President.

“As you may recall, we called on the junta to rescind its decision of toppling a legitimate government. We proceeded to impose sanctions with the hope that this resolute measure would serve as a catalyst for the restoration of the constitutional order in Niger.

“Regrettably, the seven-day ultimatum we issued during the first Summit has not yielded the desired outcome.

“We have also made diligent efforts through the deployment of various ECOWAS mediation teams, to engage the military junta for a peaceful resolution of the political situation. One of the facilitators, former Head of State of Nigeria, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, would update us on the outcome of his mission to Niamey.

“Similarly, as part of coherent diplomatic initiatives, Special Envoys were dispatched to non-ECOWAS nations, particularly Libya and Algeria. During these engagements, the Envoy designated for Libya had the privilege of an audience with the President of Libya.

“This discourse resulted in an unequivocal expression of support for the resolutions adopted by ECOWAS aimed at restoring constitutional governance in Niger.

“In Algeria, the Envoy was received by the Minister of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the President of the country.”

According to President Tinubu, the initiatives are aimed at presenting a cohesive and united stance regarding the ongoing circumstances in Niger, thus showing a collaborative and concerted approach among African nations.

“Following the resolution of our previous Extraordinary Summit to initiate a meeting of the ECOWAS Chiefs of Defense Staff, the meeting of the Chiefs of Staff Committee was duly held from 2nd to 4thAugust, 2023.

“The outcome of that meeting, as well as a Memorandum by the President of the ECOWAS Commission on current socio-political developments in Niger, will be presented during this Summit. These will offer critical insights that will inform our collective decision-making process at this meeting,” he said.

Tinubu commended the Heads of Government’s presence at today’s meeting despite the short notice, saying it demonstrates the unwavering dedication of our esteemed community to finding a lasting solution to the political situation in the Republic of Niger.

“Today, we gather with a profound sense of urgency and firm determination, building upon the commitments made during our first Extraordinary Summit, on the grave political crisis befalling our sister nation.

“Today’s Summit provides a significant opportunity to meticulously review and assess the progress made since our last gathering. It is essential to evaluate the effectiveness of our interventions and identify any gaps or challenges that may have hindered progress.

“More specifically, as leaders of our respective nations, we must recognize that the political crisis in Niger not only poses a threat to the stability of the nation but also has far-reaching implications for the entire West African region.

“By remaining steadfast in our adherence to the principles of democracy, good governance, and the rule of law, we can restore peace, stability, and prosperity in the Republic of Niger, thereby fostering an environment conducive to growth and development for all.

“​I am confident that this 2nd ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit on the Socio-Political Situation in the Republic of Niger will be a defining moment in our journey towards a stronger, more resilient, and integrated West Africa.

“Let us seize this opportunity to make a lasting impact on the lives of our fellow Africans as we strive to build a future defined by peace, progress, and prosperity.

“In conclusion, I extend my gratitude to each of you for your attention to this critical issue. I trust that our deliberations will be productive and fruitful, leading us to find an amicable solution to the political crisis in Niger.

“As we continue to work together in solidarity and harmony, we can ensure a prosperous future for the entire West African region,” the Nigerian leader said.

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