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Algeria Sends Official to Niger for Talks After Coup

Algeria said it sent a high-ranking official to Niger on Thursday as part of its diplomatic push in the aftermath of a military coup in the neighboring country.

The Algerian Foreign Ministry’s secretary-general, Lounes Magramane, “will be visiting” Niger, the ministry said on X, formerly known as Twitter.

It comes a day after Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf began a tour of West African countries in a bid to find a solution in Niger, where Algiers opposes any military intervention following the coup.

The West African bloc ECOWAS has threatened to use force to reinstate Niger’s elected president, Mohammed Bazoum, who was detained by the armed forces on July 26.

Magramane’s visit was another step in Algiers’ “unceasing efforts … to contribute to a peaceful solution to the crisis in Niger, avoiding increased risks for this neighbouring and brotherly country and for the entire region,” the Algerian Foreign Ministry said.

The diplomat was due to hold a “series of meeting with figures and high officials” in Niger, it added.

Algeria, which shares a 1,000-km southern land border with Niger, has previously cautioned against a military solution, which President Abdelmadjid Tebboune said would be “a direct threat” to his country.

He stressed “there will be no solution without us (Algeria). We are the first people affected.”

Algeria — Africa’s largest country — also shares borders with Libya and Mali, both in the throes of years-long conflicts.

Niger is the fourth nation in West Africa since 2020 to suffer a coup, following Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali.

The juntas in Burkina Faso and Mali have said that any military intervention in their neighbor would be considered a “declaration of war” against their countries.

The West African bloc has rejected the proposal by Niger’s mutinous soldiers for a three-year transition to democratic rule, with a commissioner describing the slow timeline as a provocation.

The door for diplomacy with Niger’s junta remained open but the bloc is not going to engage in drawn-out talks that lead nowhere, said Abdel-Fatau Musah, the ECOWAS commissioner for peace and security.

“It is the belief among the ECOWAS heads of state and also the commission that the coup in Niger is one coup too many for the region and if we allow it then we are going to have a domino effect in the region and we are determined to stop it,” Musah said. 

While direct talks and backchannel negotiations are ongoing, he said the door to diplomacy wasn’t open indefinitely.

“We are not going to engage in long, drawn out haggling with these military officers … We went down that route in Mali, in Burkina Faso and elsewhere, and we are getting nowhere,” Musah said.

His comments came days after an ECOWAS delegation met the head of Niger’s military regime, Gen. Abdourahmane Tchiani.

After last week’s meetng, Musah said the ball is now in the junta’s court.

Source: Arab News