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Niger’s New Prime Minister Optimistic About Overcoming Sanctions

Niger’s recently appointed Prime Minister, Lamine Zeine, has addressed the sanctions imposed on the military junta, labeling them an “unjust challenge.” However, Zeine expressed confidence that the nation will successfully navigate these obstacles.

Having assumed office just a week ago under the junta’s authority, Zeine conveyed on Monday that Niger maintains a strong interest in fostering economic collaboration with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

The military’s ousting of democratically-elected President Mohamed Bazoum on July 26 led to the suspension of the constitution and the establishment of a transitional government.

Consequently, ECOWAS promptly imposed sanctions on the new military junta, insisting on the immediate restoration of constitutional order. In addition, ECOWAS initiated preparations for a potential military intervention in Niger by activating a standby force.

In a significant development, the junta exhibited a willingness to engage in negotiations with ECOWAS following a visit by a Nigerian mediation group comprising Islamic clerics.

Prime Minister Zeine expressed his optimism regarding the forthcoming negotiations with ECOWAS and neighboring Nigeria, which played a pivotal role in the response to the political changes in Niger.

“We place considerable importance on maintaining this historically significant relationship,” Zeine emphasized, highlighting ECOWAS’ original purpose as an economic consortium aimed at fostering prosperity across West Africa.

“However, should the emphasis shift from economic solidarity to political and military considerations, we would regard that as a cause for regret,” he added.

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