The Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) has stirred discontent in Niger after delaying its negotiation mission to the country. This is due to “technical problems” with the chartered plane meant to transport most of the delegation from Abuja to Niamey.
Niger’s military-appointed Prime Minister criticized Ecowas, an alliance of West African countries, for what he termed as “bad faith,” especially considering that only Togo attended the scheduled meeting.
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In response, Ecowas issued a statement clarifying that their absence was not intended as a snub to the military-led country. Instead, it was due to “technical problems with the aircraft the commission had chartered for the flight from Abuja to Niamey.” The West African bloc emphasized its commitment to rescheduling the mission at the earliest convenience.
Ecowas has imposed stringent sanctions on Niger since a coup toppled President Mohamed Bazoum in July. The bloc has consistently called for President Bazoum’s release, as he remains under house arrest. Additionally, Ecowas has raised the stakes by threatening military intervention and suspending all trade ties with the landlocked country.
Niger’s junta had hoped that the scheduled meeting with Ecowas would contribute to easing diplomatic relations with the member countries of the regional bloc. The postponement adds another layer of complexity to the already strained situation, with the rescheduled mission expected to play a crucial role in addressing the ongoing political and diplomatic challenges facing Niger.