The presidency of Côte d’Ivoire declared on Thursday that the next summit of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas), which is in disarray due to a string of recent military takeovers, will be held in Abuja on December 10.
The president of the commission of the regional organisation, Omar Alieu Touray, and Ivorian head of state Alassane Ouattara met in Abidjan on Wednesday, and the press release from the presidency stated that “the next ordinary summit” of Ecowas “will take place on December 10 in Abuja”, the capital of Nigeria.
The previous summit, which happened at the start of August, focused solely on the situation in Niger in the wake of the military takeover that deposed the country’s elected leader, Mohamed Bazoum, on July 26. Bazoum has since been placed under house arrest in his residence in Niamey.
The leaders of state placed severe financial and economic sanctions on Niger, which is governed by a military government headed by General Abdourahamane Tiani, and threatened to use force to reinstate President Bazoum.
In an interview that was posted on the Jeune Afrique website on Thursday, Ecowas Commissioner for Political Affairs Abdel-Fatau Musah stated, “I wouldn’t say we’ve given up the military option. We have suspended it, while waiting for the sanctions to produce results.”
He concluded that “many things are negotiable, but under no circumstances will we accept a three-year transition” in reference to General Tiani’s proposed three-year transition period prior to a return to constitutional order. “In any case, dialogue has broken down for the time being. We have tried to meet (the Niger leaders) and talk to them. They refuse,” he added.
Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger beset by acts of jihadist aggression, have united to form the Alliance of Sahel States (AES). Senior officials in Sierra Leone, another member of the Ecowas, reported that 21 people were killed in an attempted coup on Sunday.