Niger: New PM confident of reaching an agreement with ECOWAS

Niger: New PM confident of reaching an agreement with ECOWAS

Niger’s new Prime Minister hopes for a deal with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) after the bloc threatened to intervene militarily following July’s coup, reports Africa News and agencies, September 5. 

The country’s new Prime Minister, Ali Mahamane Lamine Zaine, appointed by the military junta, said in a press conference that he is hopeful of attaining a deal with ECOWAS. 

Niger’s Prime Minister stated, “We have not stopped contacts with ECOWAS, we are continuing contacts. We have good hopes of reaching an agreement in the coming days.” 

Since July 26’s coup in Niamey (Niger’s capital) the ECOWAS bloc has imposed strong sanctions on the West African state and has called for use of force if President Mohamed Bazoum was not reinstated. 

Mohamed Bazoum, democratically elected Nigerien President in 2021, was overthrown by the military and put on house arrest. The shocking takeover was condemned by The United Nations, ECOWAS and countries in the West who see Niger as an ally. 

Countries such as France are dependent on the West African country when it comes to uranium. A third of France’s uranium imports come from Niger. 

READ: Thousands in Niger demand French troop withdrawal in mass protest

Anti-Western sentiment in Niger is visible, recently protests broke out in Niamey, outside an airbase where French troops were present, calling for the withdrawal of French troops from Nigerien soil. 

Ditching the west, Niger has opted to offer an olive branch to the Kremlin. 

Mr. Zaine told reporters, “We are bracing to be attacked at any time. Every preparation has been taken. It would be an unjust war. We are determined to defend ourselves if there is an attack.” 

Many in Niger have are fearing a military intervention by ECOWAS and in Niamey, groups have been recruiting fighters to aid the Nigerien military should a forceful intervention occur. 

READ:Niger: Macron on board with ECOWAS’ intervention plan

ECOWAS has been harsh on Niger, particularly since 2020 as there have been a vast number of coups and failed coup attempts in the region. 

Despite being shunned by the West African bloc, Niger has found allies, neigbouring Mali and Burkina Faso.  

In August 24, Foreign Ministers of the two West African states were welcomed in Niger’s capital by General Abdourahamane Tiani, the country’s new ruler.  

Mali and Burkina Faso’s juntas said that the use of force in Niger would be “declaration of war” as during the meeting, orders were signed by Tiani which would allow Mali and Burkina Faso to “to intervene on Niger territory in the event of aggression”.   



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