Niger, France denies the will to “intervene militarily”

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna has denied allegations by coup plotters in Niger that France would like to “intervene militarily” in the country plunged into turmoil after a coup overthrew the government of President Mohamed Bazoum, elected two years ago . Yesterday, hundreds of demonstrators had gathered in front of the French Embassy protesting against Paris. The Elysée had commented: “We will respond immediately and without hesitation to anyone who attacks French citizens, the army, diplomats or French bases. We support all regional initiatives aimed at restoring the constitutional order”.

Paris: “Violent and dangerous demonstration”

“It is false”, the Foreign Minister declared on BFM TV, again with reference to the accusations of intervening on the ground: “We must not fall into the trap”, she added, underlining that it is still “possible” to bring the ousted president Mohamed Bazoum back to his “It is necessary because these destabilizations are dangerous for Niger and its neighbors”, he concluded, recalling that President Emmanuel Macron “actively follows the current situation” and spoke with Bazoum and other African leaders. Commenting on the anti-French slogans during the demonstration in front of the French embassy in Niamey, Colonna declared that “we must dismantle the poisons and not fall into the trap”. And again: “We saw an organized, non-spontaneous, violent, extremely dangerous demonstration, with Molotov cocktails, Russian flags, anti-French slogans copied and pasted from those already seen elsewhere”. “In short – continued the head of French diplomacy speaking on Bfmtv – all the usual ingredients of destabilization in the Russian-African style”. The French minister reiterated that France’s absolute priority is now “the safety of its compatriots”. a few hours ago, Paris announced the strengthening of security in front of the French embassy in Niamey.

The role of Ecowas

In the meantime, the ball bounces more and more in the field of Ecowas, the economic community of West African states, appointed by vocation and by compact indication by the western chancelleries to unravel the tangled skein of Niger, with the military junta coup plotter isolated by Europeans and Americans and observed with caution even by Moscow which is asking for moderation despite the pro-Putin enthusiasm that is raging in the streets of Niamey. Meanwhile, the new strongman Abdourahamane Tchiani goes his way and orders the arrest of four ministers and Fourmakoye Gado, leader of the president’s party.

The demands of the West

The request for the reinstatement of the legitimate government comes from all fronts, which look with apprehension at the drift of one of the last Western partners in the Sahel region. However, partially reassured by the first post-coup photo released online of ousted president Mohamed Bazoum, according to some sources detained in his residence, portrayed smiling and in good health with the president of neighboring Chad Mahamt Idriss Deby, who arrived in Niger “to explore all the roads and find a peaceful solution to the crisis.” The United States “supports Ecowas in defending the constitutional order in Niger. The legitimate and democratically elected government must be reinstated immediately,” says US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

The position of the EU and Italy

“The unacceptable attack on the democratically elected government puts at risk” the “deep ties” between the EU and Niger, attacks the president of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen. Germany announces the suspension since last week “of all funds in Niamey”. “The EU supports all the measures adopted by Ecowas as a reaction to the coup d’état that took place in Niger and will support them quickly and decisively”, echoed the EU High Representative Josep Borrell. And it was precisely with Borrell, as well as with his French colleague Catherine Colonna, that Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani had a telephone conversation, underlining how Italy is “at the forefront of tackling the crisis” and does not recognize the military junta. Rome wants a diplomatic solution and is working on an agreement “to avoid bloodshed”, added the head of the Farnesina while in the afternoon at Palazzo Chigi there was a meeting between the Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, Tajani himself, the minister of Defense Guido Crosetto, Undersecretary Alfredo Mantovano and the heads of Intelligence. Italy – it was specified at the end of the meeting – “hopes for a negotiated solution to the crisis and the constitution of a government recognized by the international community”. According to Crosetto “the West’s task is not to throw fuel, but water on the fire”.

Moscow: “In favor of restoring the rule of law”

The Kremlin is also “favorable” to the “rapid restoration of the rule of law” and to “restraint on all sides so that there are no victims”, through the mouth of spokesman Dmitri Peskov who takes the opportunity to make a sharp distinction with the line interventionist of Yevgeny Prigozhin. Moscow’s considerations “should not be put on the same semantic level” as those made by the leader of the Wagner Group, Chisel Peskov. And the reference is to the statements made in recent days in which Prigozhin had applauded the coup and had nominated his candidates to “restore order”. To give a hand to the diplomatic work, the real one, also the cut of aid that could bring Niger to its knees, China permitting.