March 3, 2024

France pledges support for ECOWAS plan to prevent military in Niger

The French foreign ministry has announced that France will be supporting attempts by the West African regional bloc ECOWAS to stop the military coup in Niger.

Catherine Colonna, the French Foreign Minister, gave this indication while meeting on Saturday in Paris with Niger Prime Minister Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou and the Niger ambassador.

The top French official earlier noted that the junta in Niamey had until Sunday to hand over control or face a military intervention by member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

France did not indicate whether its support would entail military backing for an ECOWAS intervention in Niger. The European country has evacuated some of its citizens due to the fear of possible escalation of the crisis following attacks on its embassy in Niamey.

The ECOWAS bloc has agreed a plan for a possible intervention, after an emergency meeting between its military chiefs in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital.

It is unclear which West African forces would take part in a potential military intervention in Niger, or whether they would be supported by countries outside the bloc.

The Republic of Benin and Senegal recently pledged their support to back ECOWAS in the plan to stop the coup.

However, Chad, a non ECOWAS member,which borders Niger, said it will “never intervene militarily.”

Mali and Burkina Faso, where soldiers have also taken power since 2020, have cautioned that any regional intervention in Niger would be treated as a “declaration of war” against them.

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