General Abdourahamane Tiani, head of the junta in power in Niger met Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé in Lomé to strengthen bilateral relations, at a time when Niger is being suffocated by economic sanctions.
The two leaders reaffirmed, the will to deepen bilateral cooperation, and announced the opening of a Togolese embassy in Niamey, according to a statement from the Togolese presidency on Friday evening.
In addition to cooperation on security issues linked to rising insecurity in the region, Mr Tiani and Mr. Gnassingbé discussed collaboration “on transit and transport on the Lomé-Ouagadougou-Niamey corridor”, “once the situation has returned to normal”.
Although a member of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Togo has taken several initiatives to mediate with the military regime in Niger, at the latter’s request.
Since the overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum in July and the seizure of power by the junta, Niger has been subject to economic and financial sanctions by Ecowas, making daily life increasingly difficult for the population.
The question of sanctions against Niamey is due to be debated on Sunday in the Nigerian capital, Abuja, at the annual Ecowas summit.
On 3rd December, Nigeria, which holds the presidency of Ecowas, called on Niamey’s military rulers to release the deposed president and allow him to travel “to a third country” before “discussing the lifting of sanctions”.
Niamey asserted that “nothing bad will happen” to Mohamed Bazoum, ruling out a “transfer to a foreign country”.
The ruling junta in Niamey has rejected Ecowas’ demands to restore constitutional order, and insists that a transitional period of up to three years is needed to do so, while the country faces two terrorist insurgencies in the south-east and west.