Benin temporarily cancels ban on oil exports from Niger

Benin temporarily cancels ban on oil exports from Niger
Benin temporarily cancels ban on oil exports from Niger

Benin has temporarily reversed its decision to block exports of crude oil from Niger via its port and agreed to organize a meeting between the two countries, the mines minister of this African country said on Wednesday. ‘West.

Last week, in an escalation of tensions with its neighbor, Benin said it had blocked exports from landlocked Niger, demanding that the junta-ruled country reopen its border to goods and normalizes relations before crude shipments can resume.

“We have decided to authorize the loading of the first ship in our waters… However, it is important to note that this authorization is provisional,” Minister Samou Seidou Adambi told reporters after a meeting with Chinese partners.

Benin intends to respect all agreements reached under the pipeline project, Mr. Adambi said, adding that the country planned to organize a meeting to examine “urgent issues relating to the smooth running of export operations of the pipeline.” ‘pipeline”.

Relations between Benin and Niger have been strained since the July 2023 coup in Niger led the West African regional bloc ECOWAS to impose strict sanctions for more than six months.

Trade flows in the region are expected to normalize after the West African regional bloc lifted sanctions to deter Niger from withdrawing from the political and economic union.

However, Niger has kept its borders closed to goods from Benin and has not officially informed Benin of the reasons for its decision, President Patrice Talon said in a statement last week.

Niger Prime Minister Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine said Saturday that Benin’s blocking of Niger’s oil exports violated trade agreements between the two countries and with Niger’s Chinese partners.

He added that Niger could not fully reopen its border with Benin for security reasons.

The nearly 2,000 km pipeline, backed by PetroChina, was officially launched in November, linking the Agadem oil field to Benin’s port of Cotonou.

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