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ECOWAS force to confront Niger junta if talks fail

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Troops of the Economic Community of West African States have pledged readiness to participate in a standby force that could restore civil rule in Niger Republic should diplomatic efforts to reverse a coup there fail.

All member states, except those under military rule and Cape Verde, pledged to participate in the standby force at a meeting in Accra, Ghana capital, on Thursday.

Addressing the assembled Defence Chiefs from ECOWAS member countries, the Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security,  Abdel-Fatau Musah, “Let no one be in doubt if everything else fails, the valiant forces of West Africa…are ready to answer to the call of duty.

“By all means available, constitutional order will be restored in the country.”

According to Ghana News Agency, Musah said ECOWAS would go to Niger with its resources and any organisation willing to help was welcome.

The commissioner said, “The request for Chapter VII is often done in order to secure resources, and access contributions from the UN offer. The Heads of State are saying we are going to Niger with our resources. Anyone who wants to help us, fair enough.”

Chapter VII of the United Nations Charter sets out the UN Security Council’s powers to maintain peace. It allows the Council to determine the existence of any threat to peace, breach of the peace or act of aggression, and to take military and non-military action to restore international peace and security.

Al Jazeera quoted Nigeria’s Chief of Defence Staff, Gen Christopher Musa, to have said, “Democracy is what we stand for and it’s what we encourage.

“The focus of our gathering is not simply to react to events, but to proactively chart a course that results in peace and promote stability.”

Meanwhile, the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Germany has thrown its weight behind the European Union sanctions against the Niger Republic military junta.

EU foreign ministers are expected to discuss the Niger situation, including sanctions, at a meeting in Toledo, Spain, on August 31, 2023.

The EU, one of the biggest providers of aid to Niger, said last month it was suspending security cooperation and financial support that had been set at EUR 503 million in 2021-2024 to help improve governance and education.

During a visit to Abuja, German Development Minister, Svenja Schulze, also met with representatives of the West African bloc ECOWAS, the ministry said.

Also, the Southern Africa Development Community bloc in Nigeria on Thursday supported the actions taken by the African Union and the ECOWAS to restore democracy in Niger.