Niger/ECOWAS: Washington’s tough words for Algerian regime
The U.S. administration has underscored its strong support for the principled stand taken by ECOWAS in defense of democracy and constitutional order in Niger.
Washington voiced its firm stand in a telephone conversation U.S. Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Molly Phee had Thursday with Algerian Foreign Minister Attaf as the ruling junta started maneuvering against ECOWAS military action in Niger by proposing a six-month transition as a solution to the crisis rocking this African country.
Phee’s talks with Attaf come only few days after the Algerian foreign minister was summoned to Washington by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to explain his president’s remarks made in Moscow against U.S. dollar and the West.
According to a State Department press release, Mr. Attaf and Assistant Secretary Phee affirmed their respect for the African Union’s rejection of unconstitutional changes of government and shared their expectation that the Nigerien military should immediately release President Bazoum, his family, and those members of his government unjustly detained.
They also discussed the important role that democracy and development play in contributing to stability and security in the Sahel.
West African army chiefs from the regional ECOWAS bloc met in Ghana last week to discuss military intervention in Niger after members of its presidential guard seized power last month and established a junta.
Algeria has repeatedly said it was against military intervention as ECOWAS says it has chosen an undisclosed “D-Day” for a possible military intervention to restore Niger’s democratically elected president following the coup.
Abdel-Fatau Musah, the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace & Security of the ECOWAS bloc, said that military forces are “ready to go anytime the order is given” for military intervention in Niger.
Last week, ECOWAS ordered the “activation” of a regional standby force to prepare itself to enter Niger, which was taken over by a military junta on July 26.