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Niger Coup Leader Agrees To Hold Direct Talks With ECOWAS1 min read

Niger Coup Leader Agrees To Hold Direct Talks With ECOWAS<span class="wtr-time-wrap after-title"><span class="wtr-time-number">1</span> min read</span>
A group of Nigerian Islamic scholars who met Niger’s coup leader have said the general has agreed to hold direct talks and resolve a standoff with West African leaders.

Sheikh Abdullahi Bala Lau, who led the Nigerian delegation, made the announcement on Sunday, a day after his group held talks with General Abdourahamane Tchiani in the Nigerien capital Niamey.

The meeting took place as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) explores its options to restore civilian rule in Niger, including potential military intervention, following the removal of President Mohamed Bazoum last month – the seventh coup in West and Central Africa in three years.

Lau told Al Jazeera that Tchiani has “accepted to have fully direct discussions with the leaders of ECOWAS”.

“So, we want them to select a place to meet,” he said. “Do they intend to meet there in Niger, in Nigeria or where else they think is better for them?”

The timing could be fixed in the coming days, he said.

“We want to create an avenue whereby the leaders of the junta coup in Niger will have a dialogue with the ECOWAS leaders to understand each other so that peace will continue to rein in our region,” he added.

Lau’s mission to Niamey was approved by ECOWAS Chairman and Nigerian President Bola Tinubu, in a sign the West African bloc is still pushing for a peaceful resolution.

The group’s meeting with Tchiani lasted several hours, according to Lau.

During their talks, Tchiani emphasised the historic ties between Niger and Nigeria, saying the countries “were not only neighbours but brothers and sisters who should resolve issues amicably”, according to a statement by Lau.

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