Niger junta proposes 3-year transition of power amid ECOWAS’s last-ditch diplomatic effort

Niger junta proposes 3-year transition of power amid ECOWAS’s last-ditch diplomatic effort

Niger’s coup leader has proposed a three-year transition of power after meeting a delegation of West African envoys on Saturday (19 August) whose visit to Niger is seen as a last-ditch diplomatic effort to reach a peaceful resolution to the leadership crisis.
The Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS, emphasizes diplomatic efforts but has drawn the line with the Niger putschists after the coup in late July, planning for a possible military intervention on a “D-day” to restore civilian rule, if diplomatic efforts fail.

During the talks with the ECOWAS delegation, General Abdourahmane Tiani, the junta leader, pushed for the lifting of economic and travel sanctions imposed by the West African bloc after the coup, but despite at times striking a conciliatory tone, he was unwilling to give much in return, according to sources familiar with the meeting.

Tiani also reportedly expressed concerns that its former colonial ruler France, which has some 1,500 troops stationed in the country was actively planning an attack.

Niger’s coup leader also said that the putschists’ “ambition is not to confiscate power,” proposing that a transition of power would not go beyond three years. Tiani also warned ECOWAS that any military intervention in the country would “not be a walk in the park” for those involved. Niger and neighboring Mali and Burkina Faso say a defensive strategy has been developed should there be a military intervention.

Several thousand people gathered in the capital of Niger, chanting slogans in support of last month’s military coup, and against former colonial power France and the ECOWAS bloc. Niger’s coup leaders have officially banned demonstrations, but in practice those in support of the coup are allowed to go ahead. Overall, the meeting seems to have yielded little, which is hardly surprising, experts say, given the starkly different positions of the two parties.

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