Niger Coup Leaders Reach Agreement On Transition Terms

The ruling military in Niger has agreed to the terms and conditions for a transition back to civilian rule, according to the chief diplomat from mediator Togo, Robert Dussey who announced this on Thursday.
He announced the agreement on Niger’s national television, stating that he had reached an agreement “on the content and timing of the transition” with Niger’s junta-appointed prime minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine and foreign minister Bakary Yaou Sangare and that the plan would be presented to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
“We are ready to present the plan… to the mediating heads of state and the ECOWAS Commission,” he said, referring to the Economic Community of West African States.
After Niger became the latest country in the Sahel to experience a coup with July’s ouster of President Mohamed Bazoum, the regional grouping imposed tough sanctions and suspended trade, while also floating the option of military intervention.
The coup in July led to tough sanctions imposed by ECOWAS, impacting Niger’s economy severely. In October, the military leaders announced a 40-percent cut in the 2023 budget due to these sanctions.
 ECOWAS leaders in Abuja on Sunday recently emphasized that easing punitive measures depends on a “short transition” period.
The bloc also decided that a committee made up of the presidents of Benin, Togo and Sierra Leone would lead negotiations with the Nigerien military leaders on the commitments to be implemented.
According to Niger’s broadcaster, Tele Sahel, mediator Dussey will return to Niamey in January with his counterpart from Sierra Leone, Timothy Kabba.
ECOWAS said on Thursday that Niger is now “suspended from all decision-making bodies” of the organisation, “until constitutional order is re-established”.
The military leaders in Niger have previously expressed a desire for up to three years for the transition back to civilian rule. Since the coup, Niger has scaled back security cooperation with Western partners and expelled French troops.
Ada Peter

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