Niger: UN chief reiterates support for ECOWAS’ ongoing mediation efforts

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By Cecilia Ologunagba

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has underlined his support for ongoing mediation efforts by the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) in the wake of the July 26  coup in Niger.

UN Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, Farhan Haq said this while answering questions from journalists on the ECOWAS deadline at a news conference on Monday in New York.

An ultimatum issued by the bloc to the military junta that has ruled Niger since the coup d’état expired on Sunday.

ECOWAS is scheduled to hold another meeting on the crisis on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria, according to media reports.

This follows an extraordinary summit last week where the 15-member bloc issued a communiqué calling for the reinstatement of Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum.

ECOWAS had threatened to take all measures necessary to restore constitutional order, including use of force if the coupists failed to do that.

Military leaders in Niger have closed the country’s airspace in response.

“The secretary-general is concerned over the continued detention of President Bazoum and the failure so far to restore constitutional order in Niger,” Haq said.

Meanwhile, UN Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Leonardo Santos Simão, continues to provide good office support to regional stakeholders, and is currently in Abuja.

“The secretary-general emphasises the urgent need to ensure that life-saving humanitarian work continues unhindered, and that the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service that provides a vital link to remote communities in Niger is allowed to operate to and continue to serve those communities,

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Simão had earlier reported that 4.3 million people in Niger required humanitarian assistance.

He also warned that the unfolding crisis could worsen insecurity in the wider West African region.

UN humanitarian agencies have pledged to stay and deliver in Niger. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

Edited by Emmanuel Yashim

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