Guterres concerned over continued detention of Niger’s President
UN Secretary-General António Guterres has underlined his support for ongoing mediation efforts by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in the wake of the 26 July attempted coup in Niger, his Office said on Monday.
ECOWAS is scheduled to hold another meeting on the crisis on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria, according to media reports.
This follows an extraordinary summit last week where the 15-member bloc issued a communiqué calling for the reinstatement of Nigerien President Mohamed Bazoum.
Failing this, ECOWAS had threatened to “take all measures necessary to restore constitutional order”, including use of force. The ultimatum expired on Sunday.
Military leaders in Niger have closed the country’s airspace in response.
UN “good offices” role
“The Secretary-General is concerned over the continued detention of President Bazoum and the failure so far to restore constitutional order in Niger,” his Office said in a note to journalists.
Meanwhile, UN Special Representative for West Africa and the Sahel, Leonardo Santos Simão, continues to provide good offices support to regional stakeholders, and is currently in Abuja.
Humanitarian support must continue
“The Secretary-General emphasizes the urgent need to ensure that life-saving humanitarian work continues unhindered, and that the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service that provides a vital link to remote communities in Niger is allowed to operate to and continue to serve those communities,” the note said.
During a briefing to journalists last week, Mr. Simão reported that 4.3 million people in Niger require humanitarian assistance.
He also warned that the unfolding crisis could worsen insecurity in the wider West African region.
UN humanitarian agencies have pledged to stay and deliver in Niger.