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Algeria begins mediation with ECOWAS members over Niger crisis

August 24, 2023 at 9:06 am

Coup supporters gather to stage a demonstration to protest the decision of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries to sanction Niger and to support the army, in Niamey, Niger on August 3, 2023 [Balima Boureima/Anadolu Agency]

Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Ataf yesterday set-off on a diplomacy tour to three members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to help find a way out of the Niger crisis, the Algerian Foreign Ministry said on its X (formerly Twitter).

The ministry added that President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has mandated Ataf to visit Nigeria, Benin and Ghana to hold “consultations on the crisis in Niger and ways of dealing with it.”

The consultations aim to contribute “to a political solution that will spare this country and the entire region the repercussions of a possible escalation of the situation,” the ministry added.

Tebboune has stressed that he “categorically rejects any external military intervention” in Niger, which would “directly threaten Algeria”.

“There will be no solution without us. We are the first concerned,” he explained.

Algeria, shares a 1,000 kilometre border with Niger.

In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) has decided “to suspend the participation of Niger in all activities of the AU and its organs and institutions until the effective restoration of constitutional order in the country.”

On 10 August, ECOWAS announced its intention to deploy a West African force “to restore constitutional order in Niger” after the military overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum.

Tebboune, however, warned that in the event of a military operation, “the whole Sahel will go up in flames” stressing that both Mali and Burkina Faso are ready to enter the battle alongside Niger.

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