France says backs 'efforts to restore democracy' in Niger

AFP , Tuesday 8 Aug 2023

France stands by its policy of backing efforts to "restore democracy" in Niger where the president was removed by a military coup, a diplomatic source told AFP on Tuesday.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna
File photo: French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said that President Mohamed Bazoum and his deposed government are Niger's only legitimate authorities. REUTERS


But President Emmanuel Macron's government believes it is up to regional organisation ECOWAS "to take a decision on how to restore the constitutional order in Niger, whatever that decision may be", the source said.

"Like all our partners, we fully support the regional countries' efforts to restore democracy in Niger," the source added.

West African leaders are to hold a summit on the crisis in Niger this week after the country's military rulers defied an ultimatum to restore the elected government or face possible military intervention.

In its first official reaction since the coup leaders ignored the Sunday deadline to reinstate democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum, the ECOWAS regional bloc said it would meet in the Nigerian capital Abuja on Thursday.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said that he and his deposed government "are Niger's only legitimate authorities".

A foreign ministry official added that France was backing, "with force and determination", the ECOWAS efforts to reverse the Niger coup.

A source close to ECOWAS said an immediate military intervention to restore Bazoum was not envisaged at this stage, adding that the path to dialogue still appeared open.

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