Pope Francis appeals, prays for peace in Niger

Pope Francis has appealed for peace in Niger after last month’s coup overthrew democratically elected president Mohamed Bazoum.

Representatives of West African bloc ECOWAS met with Bazoum and held talks with junta leader General Abdourahmane Tiani in the capital Niamey last weekend in diplomatic efforts to reverse the July 26 coup. Tianilater said in a televised address to the nation that he was open to dialogue.

The coup leaders’ acceptance of the mission could signal a new willingness to negotiate after the bloc reneged on its threat to use force as a last resort to restore democracy.

Pope Francis leaves at the end of his weekly general audience in St. Peter’s Square, at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Speaking to a crowd while delivering his Angelus prayer in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis said: “I follow with concern what is happening in Niger. I join the bishops’ appeal for peace in the country and for stability in the Sahel region. I accompany with my prayer the efforts of the international community to find a peaceful solution for the good of all as soon as possible. Let us pray for the dear people of Niger. Let us also pray for peace for all people wounded by war and violence. We pray especially for Ukraine, which has been suffering for so long.”