Niamey [Niger], August 20 (ANI): Niger’s military ruler General Abdourahamane Tchiani, who ousted the country’s President Mohamed Bazoum and seized power in a coup, has proposed a return to democracy within three years, CNN reported.
In a televised address on Saturday, General Tchiani said that neither the junta “nor the people of Niger want war and remain open to dialogue,” according to CNN.
General Tchiani said the decision regarding the principles of the transition will be taken within the next 30 days as part of a national dialogue hosted by the junta and the transition itself “should last no longer than three years.”
He said the dialogue would define “national priorities” and “call for fundamental values to guide the rebuilding” of Niger, CNN reported. Niger has been engulfed in political chaos since late last month when President Mohamed Bazoum was ousted in a coup d’etat by the presidential guard.
In response to the coup in Niger, leaders from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) have imposed sanctions and issued an ultimatum to the junta to stand down or face a potential military intervention by a regional standby force, according to CNN.
On Saturday, a delegation of ECOWAS leaders held a meeting with Tchiani in Niamey and visited Mohamed Bazoum. In a televised address, General Tchiani said that the Niger junta’s goal was “not to confiscate power.”
The ECOWAS delegation, on Saturday, reached Niamey at about 1 pm (local time). The development came a day after the bloc’s military chiefs said they were ready to “intervene militarily” to reinstate Bazoum.
Niger’s governing military council confirmed the arrival of the ECOWAS representatives, headed by former Nigerian leader Abdulsalami Abubakar, Al Jazeera reported.
“We met Bazoum, we heard from him what was done to him. He told us about the problems he’s facing. We’ll take it to the leaders who sent us here,” said Abubakar.
“Without doubt, the meeting has opened discussions to lead to a way to resolve this crisis,” Al Jazeera quoted Abubakar as saying.
He said, “I also reaffirm our readiness to engage in any dialogue, as long as it takes into account the orientations desired by the proud and resilient people of Niger.” He further warned that the junta will fight back in case they are attacked.
General Tchiani said, “If an attack were to be undertaken against us, it will not be the walk in the park some people seem to think.” Previously, the Niger junta said that they had gathered evidence to prosecute Bazoum for “high treason.” (ANI)
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