West African leaders to meet this August 10 for key Summit on Niger as Russia provides support

West African leaders to meet this August 10 for key Summit on Niger as Russia provides support

Leaders from West African bloc ECOWAS will meet on Thursday August 10 for an emergency Summit on the coup in Niger after the military intervention threat becomes weak and amid support from Russia for peaceful resolution of the crisis.

Nigeria-led ECOWAS on July 30 gave August 6 deadline for the junta in Niger to restore elected and west-backed leader Mohamed Bazoum or face a military intervention.

The junta backed by Mali and Burkina Faso, both also led by military controlled governments, defied the regional bloc and appointed a transitional Prime Minister earlier this week.

ECOWAS which had adopted a strong position on the July 26 coup seems to tone down its voice and indicated that it is seeking a diplomatic solution, but has not ruled out using force to resolve the crisis.

Important decisions are expected from the gathering in Nigeria’s capital Abuja.

Meanwhile Russia, whose intervention is demanded by populations in Niger, indicated this Wednesday August 9 it backs mediation efforts to defuse the crisis.

“We support the mediation efforts undertaken by the African community to help the people of Niger emerge from this crisis,” said Deputy Director of Russian Foreign Ministry’s Information and Press Department, Alexey Zaitsev. “We believe that the swiftest possible restoration of law and order and an inclusive national dialogue are the only way to remedy the situation,” he added.

Many believe that ECOWAS’s threat for military intervention came from France, the former colonial power. Wednesday the new Nigerien leaders accused France of having “unilaterally freed captured terrorists” who then gathered to plan an attack on “military positions in the tri-border area,” a hotspot region where the frontiers of Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali converge.

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