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Niger Coup: Nigerian Delegation States Junta Open To Talks

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An initiative has been taken in the direction of peace, as Nigerian scholars claimed that Niger coup leaders are open to talks with Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The Islamic scholars said on Sunday that the leaders are willing to clear the deadlock between them and West Africa’s regional bloc.

The visit by Nigerian officials to Niger overlaps with the efforts by ECOWAS to restore democracy in Niger, to the extent of even pushing military intervention if needed as the country’s president Mohamed Bazoum was ousted July 26 in a military coup by the presidential guards. This is the seventh coup in the entire Central & West Africa in three years.

The Nigerian delegtion’s visit to Niamey was part of a mission approved by ECOWAS chairman and Nigerian President Bola Tinubu to mediate peace between Niger and the Western bloc and determined to promote talks. The religious delegation had arrived on Saturday

According to the delegation’s chairman, Sheikh Abdullahi Bala Lau, the meeting with junta commander General Abdourahamane Tiani lasted for a number of hours. Talking about the diplomacy Lau said, “He said their doors were open to explore diplomacy and peace in resolving the matter.”

The historical ties between Niger and Nigeria were reportedly stressed by Tiani, who declared that the two nations “were not only neighbours but brothers and sisters who should resolve issues amicably.” The remarks indicate Tiani’s intentions of his willingness for a dialogue.

In the poor Sahel region of West Africa, which is already grappling with a violent Islamist insurgency, further strife has been generated by the coup leaders’ prior rejections of diplomatic efforts by ECOWAS, the United States, and others.

Last week, while negotiations stalled, ECOWAS activated a military force that it stated would be sent in as a last resort if negotiations failed. The bloc is still working on starting new negotiations. As juntas in Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea have declared support for the Niger’s new military government, any military action by the bloc might further erode regional relations.

Niger, a significant uranium producer and Western ally in the war against the Islamists, is at risk, but so is the influence of other global powers with strategic interests in the area. Russian influence has increased in the nation where democracy falters, uncertainty rises, and leaders look for new allies to bring about order.

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