Following the coup in the Niger, the future of the Sahel region hangs in the balance. Only democracies have the inner strength to offer people genuine prospects and to tackle and resolve the region’s major challenges, such as high population growth, cross-border terrorism and the impact of the climate crisis.
The united front presented by the West African regional organisation ECOWAS and the African Union at this crucial time is a clear sign of support for democracy in the Niger and beyond. We support African efforts to restore constitutional order in the Niger, and recognise that the countries of the region seek to exhaust all diplomatic avenues in doing so. It is in the interest of the Niger and the entire region for the leaders of the coup to now finally engage with these endeavours to mediate.
I condemn in the strongest possible terms the fact that the leaders of the coup continue to hold the democratically elected President Mohamed Bazoum and his family hostage. They must be released immediately. Should anything happen to them, those responsible must expect severe consequences.