ACCRA/NIAMEY, Aug 18 (Reuters) – West African military leaders are due to hold a second and final day of talks in Ghana’s capital Accra on Friday, where they have released details of possible military intervention in Niger if diplomacy fails. To reverse the military revolution.
Military officials ousted Nigerian President Mohamed Bassum on July 26, prompting regional powers to reinstate him, defying calls from the United Nations, the West African Union ECOWAS and others.
During their two-day meeting, which will end with a closing ceremony from around 1600 GMT, according to the official schedule, the defense chiefs are discussing logistics and other aspects of a possible deployment.
The use of force remains a last resort, but “if all else fails, West Africa’s gallant forces … stand ready to answer the call of duty,” said Abdel-Fataw Musa, ECOWAS Commissioner for Political Affairs, Peace and Security. At the start of Thursday’s event.
He said most of the bloc’s 15 member states were willing to participate in the standby force, except for Mali, Burkina Faso and Guinea, which are under military rule, and tiny Cape Verde.
Any escalation would further destabilize West Africa’s impoverished Sahel region, which is already struggling with a decade-long Islamist insurgency.
Niger is strategically important beyond West Africa as a source of uranium and oil reserves and a hub for foreign troops fighting al Qaeda and Islamic State-linked insurgents.
By Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Philippa Fletcher
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