On the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the United States made a concerted attempt to persuade the member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to soften their stance towards the Nigerien coup leaders. This endeavor transpired during a meeting convened by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday morning. However, it appears that the maneuver did not yield the desired outcomes.
As early as Monday, U.S. diplomats engaged their West African counterparts in the corridors of the UN in New York, broaching the topic of Niger and seeking approval for a crisis resolution plan built on a compromise with the coup leaders in Niamey.
In pursuit of this objective, Secretary of State Antony Blinken had hoped to gather several West African heads of state around him on Thursday morning, including Nigerian President Bola Tinubu and Senegalese President Macky Sall. The coordinated response from West African leaders was unequivocal: “Our position on the July coup in Niger is clear, as defined during the last ECOWAS Heads of State Summit, and Antony Blinken will not alter it.”
Consequently, no West African president responded to the invitation from the U.S. Secretary of State on Thursday morning. Instead, ECOWAS heads of state were represented by their foreign ministers. Confronted with the unwavering resolve of their African counterparts, Secretary of State Antony Blinken issued a statement in which he called upon the Niamey junta to release President Mohamed Bazoum and allow his return to lead the nation.