Niger junta agrees on plan to restore democracy

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Niger’s military leaders have agreed a plan for restoring democratic rule which will be presented to regional bloc ECOWAS for approval, Togo’s foreign minister Robert Dussey said.

Dussey went to Niger to negotiate with the junta on behalf of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which is pushing for a quick return to constitutional order after military officers seized power in a coup in July.

“We had an enriching work session with the prime minister and the minister of foreign affairs of Niger. We worked and agreed on the content and timing of the transition,” Dussey said on Niger state television late on Thursday.

“We are going to present this to the heads of states who are mediators and the ECOWAS Commission in the hope that in January, the timeline expected by ECOWAS will be known,” he said, standing next to his Nigerien counterpart.

He did not give further details on what had been agreed.

ECOWAS, West Africa’s main economic and political bloc, decided at a summit in Nigeria on Sunday to set up a committee of leaders from Togo, Sierra Leone and Benin to engage the Niger junta to agree “on a short transition roadmap”.

The bloc said it would progressively ease sanctions on Niger based on the outcome of those talks.

A top US diplomat this week said the United States was prepared to resume security and development cooperation with Niger if the junta took steps toward restoring democracy.

Niger’s ruling military council, led by General Abdourahamane Tiani, ousted President Mohamed Bazoum in what was the eighth such takeover in West and Central Africa since 2020.