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ECOWAS proposes to rebels in Niger to meet in neutral place – commissioner

The community has also asked them to release ousted President Mohamed Bazum as a gesture of goodwill, the organization's political, peace and security commissioner, Abdel Fatau Musah, said

DUBAI, August 27. /TASS/. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has proposed to Niger’s National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland, led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani, to meet in a neutral place, ECOWAS commissioner for political affairs Abdel-Fatau Musah said on Sunday.

"We proposed to the leaders of Niger’s military council to meet with us in a neutral place," he said in an interview with the Qatari-based Al Jazeera television channel. He also said that the ECOWAS also asked the rebels to release ousted President Mohamed Bazoum as a gesture of good will.

"We are in no hurry to opt for a military variant [of the crisis settlement] in Niger," Musah said. "We haven’t seen any concrete steps on the part of the military and will not be waiting for any endlessly," he warned.

In late July, a group of military rebels in Niger announced the removal of President Mohamed Bazoum. They then established the National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (Conseil national pour la sauvegarde de la patrie, CNSP), headed by General Abdourahmane Tchiani, to run the country. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) suspended Niger’s membership in the organization and imposed tough sanctions on the country. Apart from that, ECOWAS leaders demanded the rebels set Bazoum free and warned about a military resolution of the situation if he is not released.

Musah said after a meeting of the bloc’s military chiefs in Ghana on August 18 that the exact date for the intervention in Niger had been determined, but it is yet to be officially announced.