Addis Ababa, Aug 22 (EFE).- Niger has been suspended as a member of the African Union, the organization said Tuesday, following the military coup in the West African country last month.
In a statement issued by the AU’s Peace and Security Council (PSC), the pan-African bloc said it has decided to “immediately suspend” Niger from all AU activities and institutions “until the effective restoration of constitutional order in the country.”
The PSC, which met Aug. 14 in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to assess the crisis in Niger, also urged “all Member States of the AU and the international community, including bilateral and multilateral partners at large to reject this unconstitutional change of government and to refrain from any action likely to grant legitimacy to the illegal regime in Niger.”
It also asked the AU Commission to assess the “economic, social and security implications” of a possible deployment of a regional military force in Niger.
Diplomatic sources told EFE and other international media during the meeting in the Ethiopian capital last week that the PSC had rejected the use of force against the Niger coup junta, an option that has been on the table since July 30 when the heads of state and government of the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) met to discuss their response to the coup.
So far, the military junta has ignored the threats and, in addition to appointing a new prime minister and forming a transitional government, has warned that any use of force will be met with an “instantaneous” and “energetic” response.
The military actions being discussed have divided the region, where the governments of Nigeria, Benin, Ivory Coast and Senegal have readied their armies for a potential intervention.
On the other hand, Mali and Burkina Faso, countries that are both under military rule following recent coups and which border Niger to the west, have opposed military action, saying that any intervention would be tantamount to a declaration of war against them as well.
Chad, Guinea, Algeria and Cape Verde have also opposed military intervention, instead calling for dialogue.
The coup d’état in Niger was led on July 26 by the self-styled National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland (CNSP), which announced the removal of the president Mohamed Bazoum and the suspension of the Constitution.
The coup leader, General Abdourahamane Tiani, on Saturday announced a political transition of up to three years.
Ecowas has rejected that plan as “unacceptable” and a “subterfuge”. EFE