UN Special Representative for West Africa Prepares for Niger Mission

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The United Nations Special Representative for the Sahel and West Africa, Leonardo Santos Simao, remains actively engaged in addressing the crisis in Niger. He is preparing for a new mission to Niger in the coming days. The Mozambican diplomat will advocate for the delivery of humanitarian aid to Niger and engage once again with the junta on the crisis.

Following his trip to Abuja, Nigeria, this Saturday, the UN diplomat decided to visit Niamey. While no specific date has been confirmed yet, according to our sources, it will be in a few days. Leonardo Santos Simao is concerned about humanitarian aid destined for the Nigerien populations in Diffa, Maradi, Tahoua, Zinder, and Niamey. This aid, which comes from Benin and Nigeria, is currently not being allowed into the country by the ruling military.

There is also another pressing issue that requires clarification and explanation: Niger’s non-participation in the UN General Assembly. The military authorities in power had denounced it as “an obstacle to Niger’s full participation.”

On Saturday in Abuja, the Special Representative met with the ECOWAS mediator and former head of state, Abdulsalami Abubakar, for nearly three hours. The chief mediator reportedly acknowledged that “everything is blocked.” He also had a meeting with the President of the ECOWAS Commission. All parties are waiting for further guidance from the current ECOWAS chairman, Bola Tinubu, who was absent from Nigeria during the UN visitor’s visit.

Soukaina Sghir

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