The international spotlight remains on Niger following the coup on July 26th. The final statement from the African Union’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) meeting held in Addis Ababa on August 14th, 2023, is eagerly awaited. The issue of sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against Niger did not find consensus within the PSC.
A diplomatic source describes the meeting as “difficult,” characterized by frank and extended discussions. This source perceives this as an indication of member states recognizing an unprecedented situation, given that there have been six coups in less than three years across the continent.
Consequently, the source notes that “we are facing a reality that no longer aligns with our continental protocols,” leading to increasingly challenging deliberations within the Peace and Security Council.
According to the same source, the heart of the debates revolved around the African Union’s stance on decisions made by ECOWAS. Some members of the council reportedly sought to express reservations and seek clarifications within the sequence that could lead to the military option contemplated by ECOWAS.
Negotiating the Exact Terms of the Final Statement
On the other hand, another African diplomat who attended the meeting stated that Southern and Northern African countries were strongly against any form of military intervention. Central African nations, according to this source, also expressed their disagreement.
Following the meeting, the text of the final statement entered a “silent process,” as described by a diplomat. Since August 14, the member states of the Peace and Security Council have been negotiating the precise terms of the statement. This document is emphasized to be one that “collectively engages us,” as our source emphasized.