Niger’s junta on August 15 said that it was open to talks to solve a crisis caused by a military coup in July.
Russia and the United States have also called for a peaceful resolution following the West African state’s violent scenes which saw the sitting Nigerien President, Mohamed Bazoum being forcibly ousted, reports Reuters, August 15.
Western powers and democratic African governments have called for the coup leaders to reinstate Bazoum despite Niger’s military leaders rejecting negotiations.
Mohamed Bazoum has been detained by coup leaders since July 26.
West African army chiefs will meet on Thursday and Friday of this week in Ghana’s capital city Accra to prepare for a potential military intervention. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), has threatened to intervene militarily if peace talks stall.
Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine, who was appointed prime minister by Niger’s military, stated, “We are in a process of transition. We have explained the ins and outs, reiterated our willingness to remain open and to talk to all parties, but we have insisted on the need for the country to be independent,”
The new Prime Minister spoke after a trip to meet Chad’s President Mahamat Deby, who staged his own coup in 2021. Niger’s chaotic takeover is the seventh in West and Central Africa in three years.
The crisis in West Africa has sparked interest as well as concern amongst international powers.
Vladimir Putin spoke to Mali’s military leader, Assimi Goita about July’s coup in Niger on August 15. The call will likely raise eyebrows among governments in the West fearing the growing Kremlin’s influence in West Africa’s Sahel region.
Assimi Goita said on Twitter, that the Russian President, “stressed the importance of a peaceful resolution of the situation for a more stable Sahel.”
The military coup in Niger was largely pro-Russian as many African nations have turned to Russia whilst shunning countries in the West such as France. Many argue that this is because of western imperialism in the past.
Support for Russia has seemingly been on the rise in Niger as junta backers have waved Russian flags at their rallies.
Niger is a former French colony, and the country has asked France to disengage.
Niger’s coup leaders have revoked various military agreements with the French however Paris dismissed this saying that it did not recognize them as credible authorities.
Pentagon spokesperson Sabrina Singh noted that President Biden’s administration was committed to a diplomatic resolution, and said Niger was a partner it did not want to lose.