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ECOWAS delegation led by Sultan, Abdulsalami heads to Niger for crucial talks with junta



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An envoy representing the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), headed by former Head of State Abdulsalami Abubakar and Sultan of Sokoto Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, has landed in the Niger Republic as a final diplomatic endeavor to reinstate constitutional governance in the nation.

The delegation was warmly welcomed by Ali Lamine Zeine, the Prime Minister of Niger, on a Saturday afternoon in Niamey, the capital city.

Since the prior month, when President Mohamed Bazoum was ousted by the nation’s military, attempts by various countries and global entities to attain a peaceful resolution with the insurgent soldiers have proven unsuccessful.

In a previous occurrence, a delegation from ECOWAS, led by Abdulsalami, attempted a meeting with both Bazoum and coup leader Abdourahamane Tiani, yet the encounter did not yield positive results.

The country’s military junta had also, at the last minute, rejected a tripartite peace mission from ECOWAS, the African Union (AU), and the United Nations (UN).

Victoria Nuland, United States acting deputy secretary of state, was also denied permission to meet with Tiani or with Bazoum, who has been held hostage since the power grab. Instead, Nuland spoke for two hours with other army officers.

At the end of a two-day meeting on Friday, Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS commissioner for political affairs, peace and security, said the organisation’s defence chiefs had agreed on a day to intervene.

Musah said the troops were “ready to go anytime the order is given” but added that the bloc still favours diplomacy as the way to restore order in Niger.

“As we speak, we are still readying [a] mediation mission into the country, so we have not shut any door,” he added.

“Let no one be in doubt that if everything else fails, the valiant forces of West Africa, both the military and the civilian components, are ready to answer to the call of duty.”