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US backs ECOWAS efforts to restore order in Niger


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced support for efforts of the West African bloc ECOWAS on Niger without explicitly backing its call for military intervention. Read our live blog for all the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).

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00:05am: Blinken says US backs ECOWAS efforts on Niger

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken voiced support for efforts of the West African bloc ECOWAS on Niger, without explicitly backing its call at a summit for military intervention.

“ECOWAS, an organization that brings together West African countries, is playing a key role in making clear the imperative of a return to constitutional order, and we very much support ECOWAS’ leadership and work on this,” he said on Thursday. 

The United States has in recent days cautioned that military force should be only a last resort and that diplomacy was the best way to resolve the crisis.

Hours earlier, the West African bloc ordered the activation of a standby force for possible use against the junta in Niger. Reporting from Abuja in neighbouring Nigeria, FRANCE 24’s senior reporter Catherine Norris-Trent said it could take weeks for ECOWAS to get such a force together, but that it sends a strong signal.

“There’s an awful lot about this that isn’t clear,” she said. “We don’t know the locations, the timings, the budget, nor indeed [have any] final confirmation on which troops from which countries would be involved.

“It could take weeks to get a regional force together.”

But, she said, ECOWAS is “ramping up the pressure on the junta in Niger, very much signaling that ECOWAS is willing to take military action if needed to reinstore what they call democracy in Niger”.

Click on the video below to watch the full report.

 


 

Key developments from Thursday, August 10:

Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, chair of West African regional bloc ECOWAS, said on Thursday at the close of a summit on the coup in Niger that “no option had been taken off the table”, including the use of force as a last resort. The bloc ordered the activation of a standby force for possible use against the junta in Niger. The summit took place as Niger’s coup leaders announced they had formed a new government.

Read yesterday’s live blog to see how the day’s events unfolded.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)



This story originally appeared on France24

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