A West African delegation visited Niamey on Saturday to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis in Niger, as the country's new strongman announced a transition period of up to three years and warned foreign countries against possible military intervention.
"Our ambition is not to seize power," said General Abdourahamane Tiani, who rose to power on July 26 in a coup. Tiani was open to dialogue but warned that he will defend himself if the West African regional bloc tries to restore democracy by force. "It won't be a walk in the park," he warned.
In a ten-minute televised address to the nation, in a martial tone, he specified that the duration of the transition "cannot go beyond three years" and called for a "national dialogue" that should formulate "concrete proposals" in a within 30 days, in order to lay "the foundations of a new constitutional life".
He also warned the countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) against any military intervention.
The president of the National Council for the Safeguarding of the Fatherland (CNSP), which governs Niger, General Abdurahamane Tiani, affirmed that he is open to any dialogue that respects the aspirations of the Nigerien people and denied that his intention is to "confiscate power". .
Tiani thus responded to the sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which suspended Niger from its decision-making bodies and demanded a return to constitutional order after the coup d'état on July 26.
Tiani criticized the "coercive" attitude of ECOWAS, which in his opinion "ignores the search for sovereignty, security and good governance clearly expressed by the population" and "the deep dynamics underway in sub-Saharan countries abandoned to their fate for more than ten years."
The president of the CNSP defended the legitimacy of the coup, supported by "our brave populations", as a response to the "rejection of security models and poor management" implemented by "regimes that claim to be democratic, but that, in reality, They discredit democracy."
Tiani delivered this speech after a separate audience with an ECOWAS delegation, which also met with the ousted president, Mohamed Bazoum, who has been detained since the day of the coup along with other senior government officials.
Tiani, described the sanctions imposed by ECOWAS after the coup d'état on July 26 as "illegal and inhumane", and accused it of "depriving the Nigerien people of essential financial resources, hindering their economy and small businesses" and of "preparing an occupation army in complicity with a foreign power foreign to our community space", in reference to France.
The president of the CNSP questioned the legitimacy of the sanctions, which include the closure of borders, the suspension of financial transactions and the blockade of food and pharmaceutical products.
He recalled that these sanctions were adopted "without prior consultation of the transitional authorities, nor of the regional instances, nor of the national parliaments, much less of the sister populations of the countries of the community."
Tiani expressed his gratitude to the "visionary leaders" and "populations in solidarity" who have opposed a military intervention and have supported the coup which, according to him, responded to the "longing" of the Nigerien people who feel "liberated ".
This speech occurs in the context of the threat of the ECOWAS regional bloc to carry out a military intervention in Niger to restore constitutional order if peaceful means fail.
The possible military action has divided the region, where the governments of Nigeria, Benin, the Ivory Coast and Senegal have publicly confirmed in recent weeks the availability of their armies to intervene in Nigerien territory.
At the other extreme, Mali and Burkina Faso, neighboring countries governed by military juntas, oppose the use of force and argue that it would amount to a declaration of war against them as well, while Chad, Guinea-Conakry, Algeria and Cape Verde have rejected a military intervention and plead instead for dialogue.