Aug 10, 2023, 11:45am EDT

West African leaders want ‘diplomatic negotiations’ with Niger coup leaders

REUTERS/Mahamadou Hamidou

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The News

Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu said Thursday that “diplomatic negotiations and dialogue” will be the “bedrock” of any attempt to persuade Niger’s military junta to engage in a peaceful resolution to last month’s coup.

The statement was made at an emergency summit of leaders representing the West African bloc Ecowas in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

Coup leaders in Niger defied a weekend deadline to release the country’s democratically elected president or face potential military intervention, and have since resisted efforts at mediation.

We’ve curated news and analysis on the developing situation in Niger and whether meaningful negotiations are likely.

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  • Niger’s coup leaders revealed a new government of 21 ministers on Thursday — including three top generals who helped oust President Mohamed Bazoum. No further plans were announced.
  • The military junta reportedly sought help from Russia’s Wagner paramilitary group as the deadline to release Niger’s president or face possible military intervention was looming. Speaking to the Associated Press, Wassim Nasr, a journalist and senior research fellow at the Soufan Center said that coup leaders “need Wagner because they will become their guarantee to hold onto power.” Amad Hassane Boubacar from the University of Niamey labeled the junta involving Wagner “a sham”. Coup leaders, Boubacar noted, opposed foreign interference but were ready to “make a pact” with Russia.
  • One of the leading coup plotters has been the U.S.’s top ally “in the fight against Islamist militants in West Africa,” The Wall Street Journal reported. Brig. Gen. Moussa Salaou Barmou, the junta’s Chief of Defense staff, trained his men alongside American troops in Niger. But since the uprising, Barmou has expressed a divergence of interests from the U.S. — which could cost Niger its American military aid. “If that is the price to pay for our sovereignty, then let it be,” Barmou said to the Journal.