Niger’s coup leader has promised to return the West African nation to civilian rule within three years.
Gen Abdourahamane Tchiani made the announcement after meeting mediators from the West African regional bloc Ecowas in the capital, Niamey.
Ecowas has threatened military action to reverse last month’s overthrow of President Mohamed Bazoum if talks fail.
The junta head said that Niger did not want a war but would defend itself against any foreign intervention.
“If an attack were to be undertaken against us, it will not be the walk in the park some people seem to think,” he warned in his televised address on Saturday evening.
Gen Tchiani also reiterated criticism of what he called the “illegal and inhumane” sanctions imposed by Ecowas on the landlocked country.
This has included cutting electricity, resulting in blackouts in Niamey and other major cities, as well as blocking crucial imports.
Lorry drivers have been stuck for weeks waiting to bring in supplies, forcing up food prices.
“Sanctions are not conceived with the aim of finding a solution but to bring us to our knees and humiliate us,” Gen Tchiani said.
Thousands of men came to a stadium in Niamey on Saturday to register for a volunteer force in case of invasion – although overcrowding prevented the registration process starting, the Reuters news agency reports.