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Niger, Togo vow stronger ties amid coup sanctions

The Niger general who has ruled the country since a July coup met Togo’s president on Friday to strengthen ties as international sanctions hammer Niamey’s…

The Niger general who has ruled the country since a July coup met Togo’s president on Friday to strengthen ties as international sanctions hammer Niamey’s military leaders following the putsch.

Regional body the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed harsh sanctions on Niger’s military leaders after they ousted elected president Mohamed Bazoum on July 26.

But Togo, an ECOWAS member, has taken its own action to mediate between Niger and its neighbours.

General Abdourahamane Tiani met Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe in Lome, where they “reaffirmed… the desire to deepen bilateral cooperation” and announced the opening of a Togolese embassy in Niamey, Gnassingbe’s office said.

The two leaders also discussed security cooperation and collaboration in a transport route linking Lome and Niamey via Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou “after normalisation of the situation”.

The sanctions have severely affected a country that ranks as one of the world’s poorest and will focus attention at an ECOWAS summit in Nigeria on Sunday.

Earlier this month, Nigeria requested that Bazoum be freed and allowed to move to a third country before considering lifting sanctions on Niger, which ruled out such a transfer and offered reassurances about his well-being.

The military leaders say a transition period of up to three years is necessary to restore civilian rule as it battles jihadist rebellions in southwestern and southeastern Niger.

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