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HomeBreaking NewsWEST AFRICA: ECOWAS DELEGATION MEETS NIGERS PRESIDENT BAZOUM WITH MILITARY-APPOINTED PM

WEST AFRICA: ECOWAS DELEGATION MEETS NIGERS PRESIDENT BAZOUM WITH MILITARY-APPOINTED PM

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10:35pm: Niger’s military ruler proposes transition period, warns against attack

Niger’s new military ruler said Saturday a transition of power would not go beyond three years, and warned that any attack on the country would not be easy for those involved.

“Our ambition is not to confiscate power,” General Abdourahamane Tiani said in a televised address, adding that an attack on Niger would not be “a walk in the park”.

His warning came a day after ECOWAS declared its readiness for armed intervention to restore democratic order in Niger.

In a 12-minute televised speech, Tiani announced the launch of a “national dialogue” which has 30 days to formulate “concrete proposals” to lay “the foundations of a new constitutional life”. 

The announcement came after an ECOWAS delegation arrived in Niamey earlier Saturday for talks to try to defuse the political crisis in Niger.

10:20pm: New US envoy arrives in Niamey, will not present credentials to junta

The new US ambassador to Niger has arrived in Niamey as diplomatic efforts continue to resolve the crisis following last month’s military coup, the State Department announced Saturday.

But Kathleen FitzGibbon will not formally present her credentials to the military government, which the US does not recognise, the department said in a statement.

“Her arrival does not represent any change in our policy position,” it said, “but responds to the need for senior leadership of our mission at a challenging time.”

The arrival of FitzGibbon, an experienced Africa hand who was previously the number two in the US embassy in Nigeria, comes just weeks after the US ordered non-essential embassy personnel to leave Niger. 

8:46pm: ECOWAS delegation meets Bazoum in presence of junta member

The ECOWAS delegation in Niamey met with ousted President Mohamed Bazoum in the presence of Prime Minister Ali Zeine and a member of junta, according to a FRANCE 24 correspondent.

Zeine was appointed prime minister after the July 26 and is the most senior civilian appointed by the military leaders.

The ECOWAS delegation, which landed in Niamey earlier Saturday, is led by former Nigerian defence chief Abdulsalami Abubakar.

8:25pm: Pro-junta rallies tolerated, but pro-democracy gatherings face crackdowns

A group of young men opposed to ECOWAS sanctions in Niger’s capital, Niamey, stop and inspect cars in a self-declared citizen’s watch drive. Demonstrations in support of the military takeover have been tolerated in Niger since the July 26 coup.

But pro-democracy rallies supporting ousted President Mohamed Bazoum have been broken up, leading some activists in Niger to decry the “double standards”. FRANCE 24 reports on the crisis.

4:35pm: ECOWAS defence chiefs agree on objectives, logistics of Niger mission

Following a two-day meeting of ECOWAS defence chiefs in the Ghanaian capital Accra, the bloc’s commissioner for peace and security, Abdel-Fatau Musah, said they agreed to commit troops for a military deployment in coup-hit Niger, adding that they were “ready to go” whenever the order was given.

During the talks on Thursday and Friday, the ECOWAS defence chiefs fine-tuned the objectives and strategic capacity required for a military mission to restore democracy in Niger, Musah told journalists in Accra.

He indicated, however, that ECOWAS is not yet giving up on diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis in Niger.

3:30pm: ECOWAS delegation arrives in Niamey

A delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has arrived in Niger‘s capital, Niamey, according to FRANCE 24 and RFI’s regional correspondent Serge Daniel. 

The delegation arrived a day after the bloc’s military chiefs said they were ready to intervene to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

Niger’s governing military council confirmed the arrival of the ECOWAS representatives, headed by former Nigerian leader Abdulsalami Abubakar.

A previous ECOWAS delegation led by Abubakar earlier this month tried and failed to meet Bazoum and the coup leader, General Abdourahamane Tiani.

8:41am: Niger PM says ‘nothing will happen’ to captive president, according to The New York Times

Niger’s junta-appointed prime minister, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, on Friday told The New York Times that the generals who overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum in a July 26 coup will do him no harm. 

“Nothing will happen to him, because we don’t have a tradition of violence in Niger,” Zeine, the most senior civilian appointed by the military leaders, told the newspaper in an interview from Dakar on the fate of still-detained Bazoum.

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