ECOWAS Officially Suspends Niger Republic

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The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS/CEDEAO) has officially suspended the Republic of Niger’s membership until constitutional order is restored in the country.

This was contained in a statement by the regional body, following the decisions taken at the summit of heads of state and government held on Sunday in Abuja.

“Until the 64th ordinary session held on 10 December 2023, the Conference of Heads of State and Government considered the situation in Niger as a coup attempt and continued to consider Mohamed Bazoum the President of the Republic of Niger, Head of State,” the statement said.

“Due to this position, Niger was not suspended from ECOWAS’ decision-making bodies and members of Bazoum’s government were authorised to represent Niger in ECOWAS’ statutory meetings.”

“The 10 December summit recognised that Mohamed Bazoum’s government had effectively been overthrown by a military coup.

“Consequently, beginning from 10 December 2023, Niger is suspended from all decision-making bodies of ECOWAS, until constitutional order is restored in the country,” the statement said.

On Sunday, the ECOWAS leaders’ meeting in Abuja asked the military junta of Niger, which came to power in a coup on 26 July, to release the deposed president Mohamed Bazoum in exchange for the lifting of the sanctions imposed on the country.

The proposal was, however, rejected by the leader of the junta, Omar Abdourahmane Tchiani, who reiterated that Mr Bazoum would not be released.

After the summit, the bloc presented the proposal to lift the sanctions in exchange for the freedom of the deposed president, also asking the junta to shorten the duration of the transition period, currently set at three years.

Mr Tchiani agreed to this last request, without, however, specifying by how much.

The sub-regional body also announced the maintenance of sanctions against Niger.