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NIGER: Junta affirms readiness for diplomacy, decries ECOWAS ultimatums

THE head of the Niger junta, Abdourahmane Tchiani, has announced his willingness to engage in diplomatic discussion to address the country’s continuing political crisis following a meeting with a team of Islamic clerics from Nigeria.

Tchiani met with a team led by Bala Lau, the national leader of Jam’atul Izalatu Bida Waikamatu Sunnah, during an hours-long session in Niger’s capital, Niamey.

The Islamic scholars traveled to Niger on behalf of Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, who agreed to resolve the conflict.

According to a statement made by Lau today the conversations focused on a variety of problems, including the Economic Community of West African States’ (ECOWAS) demand for the reinstatement of democratically elected President Bazoum.

Tchiani expressed concern that ECOWAS had not heard the junta’s perspective before issuing ultimatums, and emphasized the coup’s intention to thwart a rising threat to both Niger Republic and Nigeria.

Tchiani stated, “Our doors are open to explore diplomacy and peace as a means of resolving the matter.”

He acknowledged the coup’s purpose and apologised for not according proper attention to the delegation previously sent by President Tinubu. He cited ECOWAS’ ultimatum as a contributing factor to the tensions.

When questioned about the junta’s stance on dialogue, Niger’s prime minister, Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine, appointed by the junta, stated, “Yes, for sure.

The prime minister went on to call the ECOWAS penalties “an injustice,” arguing that they breached the bloc’s laws.

He expressed optimism that the talks with ECOWAS would result in a resolution lifting the sanctions, and emphasized that the junta was committed to seeking peaceful solutions to the situation.

As diplomatic efforts continue, the entire community waits to see if the junta and ECOWAS can establish an agreement that will lead to regional stability.

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