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Coup: Niger junta rejects diplomatic overtures from ECOWAS, UN, US

Niger’s junta on Tuesday rejected the latest diplomatic mission from African countries aimed at restoring constitutional order after a July 26 coup.

NAN reports that the junta resisted pressure from the United States and the United Nations to come to the negotiating table.

Heads of State from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are preparing for a summit on Thursday to discuss their standoff with the Niger junta, which defied an Aug. 6 deadline to reinstate ousted President Mohamed Bazoum.

The possibility of military intervention will be discussed but ECOWAS has said it is a last resort.

The African Union (AU) sent a joint mission with representatives of the UN and ECOWAS to Niger on Tuesday but they were denied permission to enter the country by the junta, which has closed Niger’s airspace, French magazine Jeune Afrique reported.

Meanwhile, the Niger Republic military junta has appointed the country’s former Minister of Economy, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, as the new prime minister.

The coup plotter announced this on television on Monday night.

Nigerien media reports that Lamine Zeine was an ex-Minister of Economy and Finance in the cabinet of former President Mamadou Tandja, who was ousted in 2010, and currently works as an economist for the African Development Bank in Chad.

An ultimatum from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to the coup plotters to reinstate Bazoum expired over the weekend.

But ECOWAS, a regional political and economic union of 15 countries located in West Africa, has threatened to restore democracy in Niger by force.

The prime ministers of the ECOWAS member states will now meet in Nigeria’s capital Abuja on Thursday to discuss how to proceed.

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