Algeria has proposed "a six-month transition plan" to Niger's military rulers before a return to constitutional and democratic order, instead of the three years they suggested, its diplomatic chief said on Tuesday.
Niger's new strongman, General Abdourahamane Tiani, has called for "a transition period that would last a maximum of three years", recalled Algerian Foreign Minister Ahmed Attaf at a press conference in Algiers.
But in our opinion, the process can be completed in six months, so that the current coup d'état does not become a "fait accompli"," he added.
Mr. Attaf had just returned from a tour of three ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) countries: Nigeria, Benin and Ghana: Nigeria, Benin and Ghana.
The second-in-command of his ministry, Lounes Magramane, had made a parallel visit to Niamey, where he held talks with Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine. But he did not meet the deposed president Mohamed Bazoum, said Mr. Attaf.
The head of diplomacy did not specify whether or not Mr. Bazoum would be part of the transition plan proposed by Algeria.
Algiers is proposing political discussions "for a maximum of six months (...) with the participation and approval of all parties in Niger without exclusion", under the supervision of a "civil authority headed by a consensual figure accepted by all sides of the political class", in order to lead to the "restoration of constitutional order in the country", according to Mr. Attaf.
The Minister reiterated the opposition of Algeria, which shares almost 1,000 km of borders with Niger, to any armed intervention in its neighboring country. "We reject a military solution, how could we authorize the use of our airspace for a military operation?" the minister stressed.
President Tebboune announced on August 6 that he "categorically rejects any external military intervention" in Niger, which he described as "a direct threat to Algeria".
Following the July 26 overthrow of Niger's President Bazoum, 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".
Mr. Attaf warned that the "catastrophic effects" of a military solution could "push thousands of Nigeriens onto the path of migration", and that a new conflict in the region could be "an additional incubator for terrorism and organized crime".