Sunday 13 August 2023

Niger Junta Agrees to Dialogue with ECOWAS

General Abdourahmane Tchiani, leader of the Niger junta, has said the military is ready for dialogue.

Since his gang overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26, Tchiani’s regime has shunned several peaceful overtures.

But speaking during a meeting with Islamic scholars from Nigeria, Tichani was quoted to have said doors were open to explore diplomacy and peace in resolving the matter.

Daily Trust had reported how Islamic scholars led by Sheik Bala Lau, Chairman of Jam’atul Izalatu Bida Waikamatu Sunnah, met with the junta in Niger’s capital on Saturday.

In a statement Sheik Lau issued after the meeting, he said his delegation and the coup leader deliberated on several issues including ECOWAS demand for the reinstatement of Bazoum.

Asked if the discussion for dialogue took place, Lau quoted Ali Mahamane Lamine Zeine,the Prime Minister of Niger, who was appointed by the junta as saying, “Yes, for sure. That was exactly what the leader of our country told them, he did not say he was not open to dialogue.”

He also expressed optimism that talks with ECOWAS would take place in the next few days.

‘’We have agreed and the leader of our country has given the green light for dialogue. They will now go back and inform the Nigerian President what they have heard from us…. we hope in the coming days, they (ECOWAS) will come here to meet us to discuss how the sanctions imposed against us will be lifted,” he said.

Sheik Lau said the team had earlier told President Bola Tinubu who is also the Chairman of Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government that their position is that the political impasse in Niger be resolved through dialogue.

He said based on this, he told General Tchiani that the visit to Niger was to engage in constructive dialogue to encourage him and other military leaders behind the coup to toe the path of peace instead of war to resolve the crisis.

The Sheik said in his response, General Tchiani said their doors were open to explore diplomacy and peace in resolving the matter.

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