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Crisis in Niger: Algeria begins mediation in three Ecowas countries

Supporters of Niger's National Concil of Sefeguard of the Homeland (CNSP) hold   -  
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Algeria, on Wednesday sent its Foreign Minister, Ahmed Attaf, on a tour of Nigeria, Benin and Ghana, to help find a way out of the Niger crisis, Algerian diplomacy announced.

Minister Ahmed Attaf, "mandated by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, begins today (Wednesday) working visits to Nigeria, Benin and Ghana", the ministry announced on its X (ex-Twitter) account.

He will hold "consultations on the crisis in Niger and ways of dealing with it" with his counterparts in these countries "which belong to the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas)", the ministry said.

The aim is to contribute "to a political solution that will spare this country and the entire region the repercussions of a possible escalation of the situation".

Algerian diplomacy has a long history of mediating or attempting to resolve numerous international conflicts.

President Tebboune said on August 6 that he "categorically rejects any external military intervention" in Niger, which he described as "a direct threat to Algeria".

There will be "no solution without us. We are the first concerned", he added, during an interview broadcast on national television.

Against use of force

Algeria shares almost 1,000 km of border with Niger.

The Algerian head of state asked: "What is the current situation of countries that have undergone military intervention?", before adding: "Look at the situation in Libya and Syria".

As Africa's largest nation, Algeria borders two countries in the throes of profound crises: Mali and Libya, and refuses to open a third front on its borders.

The Peace and Security Council (PSC) of the African Union (AU) has decided "to suspend the participation of Niger in all activities of the AU and its organs and institutions until the effective restoration of constitutional order in the country", according to a communiqué issued on Tuesday.

Following the overthrow by the military on July 26 of Niger's president Mohamed Bazoum, who is due to be elected in 2021, Ecowas announced on August 10 its intention to deploy a West African force "to restore constitutional order in Niger".

"Two countries (Mali and Burkina Faso, editor's note) are ready to enter the battle (alongside Niger, editor's note)", Mr. Tebboune had stressed, estimating that in the event of a military operation, "the whole Sahel will go up in flames".

In Mali and Burkina Faso, which like Niger face jihadist violence, the military putschists have warned that they will stand by their neighbor.

Niger's new strongman, General Abdourahamane Tiani, assured us on Saturday that military intervention "will not be the walk in the park that some people think it will be".

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