The military regime that emerged from a coup d’état in Niger asked Togo on Monday to act as a mediator in its negotiations with the international community, in particular with the West African countries that sanctioned it last summer.
Niger’s Minister of Defense, General Salifou Moby, held talks with Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé in the capital Lomé later in the day.
Following the coup d’état on July 26, the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) imposed strict financial sanctions on Niger to pressure the military who had overthrown elected president Mohamed Bazoum to restore constitutional order.
General Mody denounced these “cynical” sanctions, and thanked Togo for continuing to talk with the military regime after the coup, unlike many other countries.
Although a member of Ecowas, Togo has taken several bilateral initiatives to engage in dialogue with the military regime in Niger.
“We have never closed our country to our friends (…) Niger remains open, even if arrangements have been made so that we can no longer speak with them,” General Mody told the press after his meeting with President Gnassingbé.
“We have asked the President of the Republic of Togo to be a mediator, to facilitate this dialogue with our various partners,” he added.
France, Niger’s former colonial power, engaged in a tug-of-war with the military regime after the coup d’état, then began in October, at its request, to withdraw its 1,500 or so soldiers deployed in the country.
We are asking Togo, our brother country, in view of what it continues to give us, to be our guarantor” in the framework of the agreement framing the French military withdrawal, which is “progressing” and taking place “normally”, added General Mody.
Togo’s Foreign Minister, Robert Dussey, told a press conference that his country was ready to “help as a facilitator” in the dialogue between Niger and the international community, and thanked General Mody “for having designated, alongside the United States of America, Togo as the guarantor country for the withdrawal of French forces”.
The ruling junta in Niamey has rejected requests from Ecowas to restore constitutional order, and insists on the need for a transitional period of up to three years to do so, at a time when the country is facing two jihadist insurgencies in the south-east and west.
Togo regularly attempts to position itself as a mediator in the region. In 2022, it took part in efforts to free 49 Ivorian soldiers held prisoner in Bamako, Mali, after being accused of being mercenaries.