Niger rulers invite ECOWAS delegation back to capital for talks

Niger’s military leaders have called on a delegation from a West African bloc to return for discussions, stated Prime Minister Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou in an interview with French broadcaster TV5 Monde on Monday.

“The junta have asked the ECOWAS delegation to return” and its members “will be in Niamey probably today (Monday) or tomorrow”, Mahamadou said in an interview.

Last Thursday, an ECOWAS delegation arrived in the capital Niamey, but it did not stay overnight as originally planned. The delegation did not have meetings with the deposed elected President Mohamed Bazoum or the coup leader Abdourahamane Tiani.

The deadline set by the bloc for Sunday night, which included a threat of military intervention unless Bazoum was reinstated, passed without any response.

Earlier on Monday, ECOWAS reached a consensus to convene a summit meeting next week to deliberate on the course of action moving forward.

The leaders of the ECOWAS bloc will be deliberating and examining the political situation and recent events in Niger during the upcoming summit, the 15-nation bloc stated in its inaugural official response subsequent to the lapse of the deadline.

“We are not disappointed… because our objective is not military intervention. Our objective is the restoration of democracy and the end of the sequestration of president Bazoum,” said Mahamadou.

In his interview, Mahamadou disclosed that Bazoum, who has been detained since July 26 along with his wife and son, is facing worsening conditions.

Mahamadou expressed his lack of surprise at witnessing apparent displays of popular support for the coup over the weekend.

“To fill a stadium as they did you just have to provide the means — to promise a little financial support to those who participate,” he said in reference to the 30,000-strong crowd which gathered Sunday to show support for the military leaders at a Niamey stadium.

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