What is Algeria's roadmap to bring Niger coup crisis to an end?
An advisor to ousted Niger President Mohamed Bazoum has welcomed Algeria's initiative for a solution to the country's crisis and spelled out the agreement to end stability following a recent military coup.
Antinekar Al-Hassan, an advisor to Bazoum, t0ld Al-Araby Al-Jadeed, The New Arab's sister site: "The Algerian initiative to bring about peace in Niger is good, and I and many Nigeriens close to President of the Republic Bazoum have welcomed it and it could actually represent the start to a solution to the crisis."
This follows the military coup carried out on 26 July when the Nigerien presidential guard took control of the presidential palace and placed Bazoum under house arrest.
"To us in Niger, Algeria represents hope of a solution to the crisis and a guard against its worrying ramifications, and we consider Algeria the state that most cares about the interests and entitlements of Niger and the entire region," said al-Hassan.
Algeria's initiative includes "setting a time frame of six months for a return to constitutional order and the resumption of political work" and "setting out political arrangements to exit the crisis, as well as sufficient guarantees for formulating these political arrangements with the participation and agreement of all parties in Niger".
Al-Hassan clarified that this would mean "President Mohamed Bazoum's removal from power in exchange for the militants stepping down."
"If those who mounted the coup love Niger and its people, they will also commit themselves to the Algerian initiative," he said.
Al-Hassan also proposed "appointing a new prime minister who would fight for the national and African cause" and "forming a national unity government in which all 11 ethnic groups recognised in the constitution would be represented".
He doesn't believe current PM Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, who was appointed by the coup leaders, would be a suitable individual to lead this process. "In my opinion the current PM can’t undertake this mission because he is a member… of the World Bank which has prevented Africa from taking any steps forward," he said.
Bazoum's advisor responded favourably to the Algerian suggestion of assigning management of the transitional period to a consensual civilian figure that is accepted by all parties and stressed the need for "the coup organisers to be removed from power, in exchange for amnesty for all military personnel who participated in [the coup]".
Al-Hassan, himself a former presidential candidate in the 2020 elections, proposed an agreement on "a transitional period of between four and five years to end the security chaos, cleanse the country and convict all those involved in plundering the country's resources over the past 12 years". This was an allusion to allegations of corruption during ex-President Mahamadou Issoufou's rule.
Al-Hassan also stressed that whatever the solution was, the Nigerien president would remain a major part of it. "Everyone who will be managing the transitional stage must cooperate with Mohamed Bazoum," he said.
National agreements must also include ending the "presence of foreign military bases in Niger" and clarified that the army leadership must be transferred to neutral military personnel", he added.
This article is based on an article which appeared in our Arabic edition by Othman Lahyani on 31 August 2023. To read the original article click here.