Defence chiefs from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will convene in Abuja, Nigeria, for a two-day meeting to discuss the recent coup in Niger.
ECOWAS leaders have already imposed sanctions on Niger and warned that they may resort to force if the junta does not reinstate President Mohamed Bazoum within a week.
The junta, however, has warned against any aggression from regional or Western powers.
In response to the coup, hundreds of coup supporters protested outside the French embassy in Niamey, the capital of Niger.
ECOWAS has stated that it has “zero tolerance” for coups and will take all necessary measures, including the use of force, to restore constitutional order if its demands are not met.
This is the first time ECOWAS has threatened military action to reverse coups in the region.
The meeting was attended by the Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel, who emphasized the importance of Niger’s role in fighting terrorism.
ECOWAS has not engaged in official negotiations with the military junta.
President Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno of Chad has traveled to Niamey to urge the junta to step down.
The West African leaders have also enforced a no-fly zone over Niger, closed all land borders with the country, and imposed financial sanctions on the junta.
There are concerns that Niger may align itself with Russia following the coup, as Burkina Faso and Mali did after their own coups.
Protesters outside the French embassy in Niamey expressed support for Russia and hostility towards France.
France has warned that it will not tolerate any attack on its interests in Niger and will respond firmly.
This article was updated 1 month ago