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Russia calls on ECOWAS to refrain from invasion of Niger — Foreign Ministry

Maria Zakharova noted that Moscow continues to "closely monitor the development of the situation" in Niger

VLADIVOSTOK, September 13. /TASS/. Russia calls on the Economic Community of Western African States (ECOWAS) to refrain from an invasion of Niger and points out the accompanying risks of an extreme escalation, not only in the region, but in the entire Sahara-Sahel zone, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said during a briefing within the Eastern Economic Forum.

The diplomat noted that Moscow continues to "closely monitor the development of the situation" in Niger, where President Mohamed Bazoum was ousted during a military coup on July 26. She pointed out that the events in the country currently develop "via the peaceful scenario:" a new functioning government was formed from representatives of both the military and civilians, and ECOWAS and a number of regional states undertake mediation steps to overcome the crisis.

"We, of course, welcome these efforts, we have said it repeatedly, and, in this context, we noted the proposal, made by the incumbent ECOWAS Chairman, President of Nigeria [Bola Tinubu], regarding a 9-month transitional period in Niger," Zakharova underscored. "It is very important to continue a dialogue between this country and the community in order to develop compromise solutions. We are certain that a military invasion of ECOWAS forces - an option that we hear mentioned by certain politicians - may cause an extreme escalation of the situation and destabilization of the situation not only in this country, but in the entire Sahara-Sahel zone as well."

She also noted that many regional states spoke against the invasion scenario, and, in a number of cases - in particular, Mali and Burkina Faso - "stated their readiness to support Niger" in case of an armed conflict.