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The upcoming summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has faced a crisis due to a series of recent military coups, is scheduled to take place on December 10 in Abuja. According to a press release issued by the Cote d’Ivoire presidency following a meeting between Ivorian head of state Alassane Ouattara and ECOWAS Commission President Omar Alieu Touray in Abidjan, the next ordinary summit of ECOWAS will convene in the Nigerian capital, Abuja.
The previous summit, held at the beginning of August, focused entirely on the situation in Niger following the military coup on July 26, which ousted the elected president, Mohamed Bazoum. President Bazoum has been sequestered in his residence in Niamey ever since.
During the last summit, the ECOWAS heads of state had considered the option of military intervention to restore President Bazoum to office and imposed significant economic and financial sanctions on Niger, governed by a military regime led by General Abdourahamane Tiani.
Abdel-Fatau Musah, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, mentioned that ECOWAS has not given up the military option. For the moment, the military intervention is suspended, while waiting for the sanctions to produce results.
Regarding the three-year transition period proposed by General Tiani before a return to constitutional order, Musah emphasized that “many things are negotiable, but under no circumstance will we accept a three-year transition.” He also noted that dialogue has broken down for the time being as attempts to engage with the leaders of Niger have been refused.
Four of the fifteen ECOWAS member countries, namely Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Guinea, have been under military rule since 2020 due to coups d’état. These countries have been suspended from the organisation and will not be represented at the upcoming Abuja summit.
Additionally, an attempted coup in Sierra Leone, another ECOWAS member, resulted in the loss of 21 lives one week ago.
The agenda for the ECOWAS summit is going to be announced next week.
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