A delegation from the West African bloc ECOWAS arrived in Niger on Saturday to engage in discussions with the military officers who have seized power, according to sources close to the organization and the ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, as reported by AFP.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has agreed to activate a “standby force” as a last resort to reinstate democracy in Niger following the coup that resulted in the detention of Bazoum on July 26. However, they express a preference for dialogue to resolve the crisis.
The delegation, arriving in the capital Niamey around 1:00 pm (1200 GMT), comes a day after the bloc’s military leaders declared their readiness to intervene in support of Bazoum.
The governing military council of Niger confirmed the presence of the ECOWAS representatives, led by former Nigerian leader Abdulsalami Abubakar.
A previous ECOWAS delegation led by Abubakar attempted to meet with Bazoum and the coup leader, General Abdourahamane Tiani, earlier this month but was unsuccessful.
A source close to the current delegation stated that it intends to convey a “firm message” to the military officers and hold discussions with Bazoum.
This week, ECOWAS defense chiefs convened in Accra, Ghana, to refine the details of a potential military operation to restore Bazoum in case ongoing negotiations with the coup leaders prove unsuccessful.
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