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Niger Coup: Junta Leaders Meet With Nigerian Representatives Ahead Of Summit With West African Nations

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A hope for dialogue seems to be in place as Niger’s military junta concluded a meeting with two Nigerian envoys on Wednesday. The meeting will be followed by a summit with regional nations that could result in military action to restore democracy.

The meeting came amidst allegations by Niger that France violated its airspace, attacked a military camp and freed “terrorists” to weaken the country.

The French foreign ministry denied the allegations, claiming that its troops were stationed in the West African country at the request of legitimate authorities and that its aircraft were operating in accordance with an existing arrangement with Niger military.

Coup leader Amadou Abdramane gave the statement via video but did not provide any evidence. His statement stirred tensions as West African nations meet on Thursday which includes discussions on military action against the junta. He said, “What we are seeing is a plan to destabilise our country.”

The junta has rejected diplomatic efforts from African, American, and U.N. envoys during the impasse. The leaders of the junta made an exception on Wednesday, meeting with two representatives of Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who also serves as the chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), in the nation’s capital, Niamey, according to a source in the Nigerian administration.

Despite tight borders, the envoys, notable traditional leaders Lamido Muhammad Sanusi and Abdullsalami Abubarkar, were permitted entry.

General Abdourahamane Tiani, the head of the junta, only met with Sanusi; his counterpart had meetings with other officials at the airport. “We’ll continue to do our best to bring the two parties together to improve understanding. This is the time for public diplomacy,” Sanusi stated to reporters after arriving in Abuja.

The PNDS-Tarayya party said on Wednesday that the Bazoums lacked access to fresh food, physicians, electricity, or running water in a statement that urged a nationwide effort to save them.

Bazoum’s safety was a major concern for the United States, according to State Department spokesman Matthew Miller, who added that the country was still looking for a way to stop the military takeover. “We continue to engage with our partners in the region. We continue to engage with other governments,” he said at a briefing.

In accordance with agreements with the now-deposed civilian government, US troops are in Niger alongside French, Italian, and German forces as part of global efforts to combat Islamist extremists destroying the Sahel region.

Internal politics led to the coup, which then turned into a global drama. Mali and Burkina Faso have promised to protect the junta, but ECOWAS, the UN, and Western nations have put pressure on it to disband.

A new Council of Resistance for the Republic (CRR) led by former rebel Rhissa Ag Boula that seeks to reinstate Bazoum complicated the political landscape on Wednesday.

Ag Boula said, “Niger is the victim of a tragedy orchestrated by people charged with protecting it.” He also added that the CRR would use “any means necessary” to hold the military takeover and supports international diplomacy.

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