Diplomatic solution in Niger ‘still possible’: Senegal president

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Artisans sit outside their workshop at the craft centre in Niamey on September 21, 2023 (Photo by AFP)

Dakar, Senegal

Senegalese President Macky Sall said Thursday a diplomatic solution in Niger was “still possible” nearly two months after a military coup toppled its democratically elected president.

The West African regional bloc ECOWAS, of which Senegal is a member, has threatened to intervene militarily if diplomatic pressure to return Niger to civilian rule fails.

Artisans sit outside their workshop at the craft centre in Niamey on September 21, 2023 (Photo by AFP)

President Mohamed Bazoum was overthrown by the military on July 26 and has been detained at home with his wife and child since.

“I hope that reason will ultimately prevail… that it is still possible to move forward reasonably to a solution,” Sall said in an interview with France’s RFI and France 24 media outlets.

He urged Niger’s coup leaders “to not push (us) to the final decision which would be a military intervention.

“This last military option can only be done when, truly, all avenues would have been exhausted,” he added on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Nigeria, whose president Bola Tinubu is chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), is doing everything to find a solution diplomatically, Sall said.

“I’m waiting for him to inform us of the results of his different approaches so that we can ultimately assess and adopt a joint decision.”

ECOWAS leaders said they have to act after Niger became the fourth West African nation since 2020 to suffer a coup, following Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea.

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