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West African bloc holds talks in Niger with junta


ABUJA, Nigeria (Reuters) – A delegation from West Africa’s main regional bloc ECOWAS flew to Niger’s capital Niamey on Saturday to hold talks with the junta, an ECOWAS source told Reuters, as the bloc pursues diplomatic ways to overturn the July 26 coup.

ECOWAS is pushing for a peaceful resolution to the ouster of President Mohamed Bazoum, but on Friday defence chiefs emphasised they were ready to intervene militarily if coup leaders continue to defy international pressure to stand down.

The delegation, which includes the bloc’s president Omar Touray, was met at Niamey airport by the junta-appointed prime minister and was due to hold talks with the self-declared authorities, the source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

There was no immediate comment from the junta.

ECOWAS has taken a harder stance on the Niger coup, the wider region’s seventh in three years, than it did on previous ones. The credibility of the bloc is at stake because it had said it would tolerate no further such overthrows.

(Reporting by Felix Onuah; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Toby Chopra)

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