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EU to support ECOWAS decisions on Niger, spokesperson says

"We are supporting ECOWAS because this is the leading body to deal with the situation in Niger," Peter Stano noted

BRUSSELS, August 8. /TASS/. The European Union will support the decisions that the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) makes on the situation in Niger, EU Lead Spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Peter Stano said at a briefing in Brussels.

"ECOWAS, the regional grouping of African states, is dealing very intensively with these issues, trying to find solutions, trying to reinstate the normal democratic order in the country. They will have another extraordinary meeting this Thursday," he pointed out, adding: "We are looking forward to their meeting on Thursday to see what they decide."

"We still think - as the European Union - that there is some room for mediation until Thursday and we are supporting ECOWAS because this is the leading body to deal with the situation in Niger," Stano noted."We are supporting strongly and firmly the actions and decisions taken by ECOWAS," he emphasized.

Situation in Niger

On July 26, a group of military rebels in Niger announced the removal of President Mohamed Bazoum, closure of national borders, introduction of a curfew and suspension of the constitution, as well as a ban on political parties. The National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland was created to run the country; General Abdourahmane Tchiani took the helm of the council on July 28.

On July 30, ECOWAS leaders demanded the rebels restore constitutional order, saying that otherwise, they would take measures that might include the use of force. The ultimatum expired on August 7 but Al Arabiya reported, citing a statement by the defense ministers of the organization’s member states that the ECOWAS military leadership believed the use of force against Niger was unreasonable. However, a decision was made to increase sanctions pressure to make the rebels release Bazoum.