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Niger Cuts Ties With Nigeria, France, US, Togo as ECOWAS Split on Coup

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NIAMEY, Niger Republic — In a stunning and unprecedented move, the junta ruling Niger Republic has cut off diplomatic ties with Nigeria, France, Togo, and the United States.

According to Radio France International, the announcement was made in a national broadcast on Thursday, August 3, 2023, by Col. Maj. Amadou Abdramane, Spokesperson for Niger’s coup leader Gen Abdourahmane Tchiani.

The decision comes in the wake of escalating tensions between Niger’s junta and the international community, with Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS) Chairman and Nigeria’s president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, at the forefront of efforts to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

ECOWAS Ultimatum and Plea for Help

ECOWAS had issued a seven-day ultimatum to the junta for the reinstatement of President Mohamed Bazoum, who was deposed in July when armed troops blockaded the presidential palace in Niamey.

In a public plea published in a Washington Post opinion piece, Bazoum urged the U.S. and its partners to intervene, writing, “I write this as a hostage and urged the U.S. and partners to help.”

The junta’s response has been defiant. Alongside severing ties, the military leadership has announced a termination of military agreements and protocols with France.

“The functions of the extraordinary and plenipotentiary ambassadors of the Republic of Niger” to France, Nigeria, Togo, and the United States are terminated,” Abdramane stated, further warning that “All aggression or attempt at aggression against the state of Niger will see an immediate response and without warning.”

Ripples Across the Region

The dramatic shift has had immediate repercussions. European countries have commenced evacuating their nationals from Niger, and there are reports of support for the coup from other countries in the region, including Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea, all of which are under military rule.

President Tinubu’s delegation, led by former military Head of State, Gen Abdulsalam Abubakar, now faces the immense challenge of navigating a dialogue with a regime that has made its antagonism to international intervention clear.

A Delicate Balance for West Africa

The situation in Niger is emblematic of a broader trend of military coups and political instability in West Africa, posing serious challenges to regional peace and security.

The unfolding crisis tests the efficacy of ECOWAS in enforcing democratic principles and maintaining regional stability.

As the international community watches, the standoff between Niger’s junta and its former allies threatens to further destabilize an already fragile region.

The coming days will reveal whether diplomacy and dialogue can prevail in the face of resolute defiance, or whether the crisis escalates into a more dangerous and unpredictable conflict.

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