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ECOWAS Sets Up Committee to Negotiate with Niger Junta on Return to Civilian Rule

West African leaders met in Abuja, Sunday (Dec. 10) for talks on their region which faces a deepening political crisis, growing threats from jihadist wreaking havoc in the Sahel and criticism of its leadership in some member countries. **

The political crisis in Niger was high in the agenda.

A commission was set up to engage with the nation’s ruling CNSP to decide on progress towards a short transition and other conditions for lifting sanctions.

“The authority decides to set up a committee of heads of state made up of the presence of the President and head of state of the Republic of Togo, the President and head of state of the Republic of Sierra Leone, the President and head of state of the Republic of Benin, to engage with CNSP and other stakeholders, with a view to agreeing on a short transition roadmap, establishing transition organs as well as facilitating the setting up of a transition monitoring and evaluation mechanism to work for the speedy restoration of constitutional order,” the president of the ECOWAS commission said.

Conditions on lifting sanctions

After the July 26 coup, ECOWAS imposed economic and financial sanctions santions on Niger. The President of the Ecowas Commission, Omar Alieu Touray, outlined conditions for their lifting.

“The authority will progressively ease the sanctions imposed on Niger. Failure by the CNSP to comply with the outcomes of engagement with the committee, ECOWAS shall maintain all sanctions, including the use of force and will request African Union and all other parties to enforce the target assumptions on members of the CMSP and their associate,” Touray said.

Speaking to Al Jazeera at the time, the bloc’s commissioner for peace and security said it was ‘unacceptable.’

The door for diplomacy with Niger’s junta remained open but the bloc is not going to engage in drawn-out talks that lead nowhere, Abdel-Fatau Musah, the ECOWAS commissioner for peace and security, told The Associated Press in an interview on Aug. 23.

According to a Togolese source, general Tiani is ready to negotiate on the duration transition and the fate of deposed leader Mohamed Bazoum who is detained. 

“Protecting democracy”

In his opening statement, Nigeria’s president Bola Ahmed Tinubu who is the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government urged West African leaders to prioritize good governance for the people, as it serves as a catalyst for socio-economic transformation and development.

‘”By providing good governance that tackles the challenges of poverty, inequality and other concerns of the people, we would have succeeded in addressing some of the root causes of military intervention in civilian processes in our region,” he said.

He emphasised that the goal of ECOWAS to achieve a fully integrated region couldn’t be realised without peace, security, and stability saying; “the region, as far back as 2001, recognized democracy as the only form of governance capable of fostering development, inclusiveness and social well-being of our people.” 

The ECOWAS Chairman described the attempt by some of the countries under military rule to float an Alliance of Sahel States as a ‘phantom attempt to divert attention from our mutual quest for democracy and good governance that will impact the life of our people.’’

On the recent disturbances in Sierra Leone and Guinea Bissau, the ECOWAS Chairman asked fellow leaders to pay attention to protecting democracy, reiterating ECOWAS’ zero tolerance to unconstitutional changes of government.

Source: Africa News