Diplomacy/International

Diplomatic rapprochement collapses as Niger junta plans to recall ambassadors from Nigeria, France, US

The General Abdourahmane Tchiani-led military junta in the Republic of Niger is planning on recalling the Nigerien Ambassador to Nigeria after failing to come to terms with the delegation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), on the return of democracy in Niger.

 

The junta is also planning to recall Nigerien Ambassadors to Togo, the United States, and France, as it pushes to evict French and US troops in the country while declaring an end to all Memorandum of Understanding between France and the Republic of Niger, reports The PUNCH.

 

Defence sources privy to the ongoing meeting in Niamey, the Niger capital confirmed the development to our correspondent this morning.

 

“The ongoing negotiation has failed. The junta has declared that it’ll recall Niger’s Ambassador to Nigeria, Togo, France, and the US,” an impeccable defence source said in a terse message sent to our correspondent this morning.

 

“The junta has just announced that it’ll evict French and US troops in Niger Republic, noting that all MoU agreements between France and Niger has ended,” another source privy to the development noted.

 

The military junta in Niger led by Tchiani, the former Head of Presidential Guard to the hoisted President, Mohamed Bazoum, detained Bazoum in a palace coup on July 26, 2023, while Tchiani later declared himself Head of State.

 

In an attempt to resolve the political crisis in the Niger Republic, the ECOWAS yesterday dispatched two missions abroad, with the mandate to achieving a resolution to ending the crisis.

 

While the first delegation led by former Nigerian Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.), led the engagement with the coupists and other parties in the Nigerien impasse in the country’s capital, Niamey; another delegation, led by Ambassador Babagana Kingibe led the engagement with the leaders of Libya and Algeria concerning the Niger crisis.

 

A statement yesterday by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, Chairman of the ECOWAS’ Authority of Heads of State and Government, President Bola Tinubu, who dispatched both teams on the mission, charged the General Abubakar’s team with a mandate to expeditiously resolve the crisis in the troubled country.

 

The mission to Niger Republic which departed for Niamey immediately after President Tinubu’s briefing, was in line with the resolution reached at the end of the extraordinary summit of the ECOWAS held last weekend at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

 

The former Nigerian Head of State is joined in the delegation by the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammad Sa’ad Abubakar III and the President of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Alieu Touray.

 

Briefing the two delegations, President Tinubu charged them to engage all stakeholders robustly with a view to doing whatever it takes to ensure a conclusive and amicable resolution of the situation in Niger for the purposes of African peace and development rather than a move to adopt the geopolitical positions of other nations.

 

“We don’t want to hold brief for anybody. Our concern is democracy and the peace of the region,” the President said.

 

Speaking after the meeting, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd.) said the delegation would meet the coup leaders in Niger to present the demands of the ECOWAS leadership.

 

Both leaders of the two missions expressed optimism about the outcome of the assignments.

 

Speaking to journalists before departing the Villa for Niamey, former Head of State, General Abubakar, revealed the task his team was charged with, which he said was to express the displeasure of the leaders of the subregion with the developments in Niger to those who hijacked power in the country.

 

“We have just been given our marching orders to go to Niger and convey the feelings of our heads of state in the region that they are not happy with what happened. And they gave them an ultimatum that the coupists should desist from what they are doing and give back power to an elected President and again, to make sure that this message is sent loud and clear to them.

 

“That’s what we are here for. So far, we are going there to convey this message to them and hear their response and report back what they have said”, Abubakar said.

 

Kingibe said talking with Libya and Algeria, two countries bordering Niger to the North, will stimulate the solidarity required for peaceful talks.

 

“Of course, this kind of situation requires solidarity. It requires coordination with all parties that are relevant to the situation.

 

“In that regard, Libya and Algeria are also very important neighbours of Niger. So, my mission is to go there with a message from President Tinubu. To brief them on the ECOWAS position and solicit solidarity and cooperation,” he said.

 

He expressed optimism that the talks will avert a possible military intervention saying, “We hope to find a diplomatic solution. Nobody wants to go to war, especially with neighbourly, brotherly people across the border with whom we share a common language, culture and religion.”

 

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