bipartisan meeting on borders and oil, but still no solution

bipartisan meeting on borders and oil, but still no solution
bipartisan meeting on borders and oil, but still no solution

The Beninese Minister of Mines went to Niamey for a two-day working visit in order to find “a way out” of the export of Nigerien oil via the Beninese coast, compromised by the diplomatic quarrel between the two States.

In Niamey on Monday and Tuesday, the Beninese Minister of Mines, Samou Seïdou Adambi, was also “bearer of a message” from President Patrice Talon to General Abdourahamane Tiani, at the head of Niger since his coup d’état last July. The latter “did not want to receive it”, declared the minister Wednesday evening during a press point in Cotonou.

Niger inaugurated in November a giant oil pipeline which should allow the transport to Benin of crude oil extracted from the Agadem deposit (south-east) by the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), an oil company belonging to Chinese state.

But the first loading of Nigerien oil at the port of Sèmè Kpodji only took place on May 19.

It was initially suspended because of the closure of the borders between Niger and its neighbors after the sanctions imposed on Niamey by the West African organization Cedeao, following the coup d’état which overthrew President Mohamed Bazoum. in July 2023.

Niger’s refusal to reopen its border with Benin despite the announcement of the end of sanctions in February subsequently prevented oil from transiting through Benin.

It took the mediation of the Chinese company Wapco, partner of Benin and Niger for the management of the pipeline, to convince the two parties to launch the first load.

But Beninese President Patrice Talon suggested in mid-May that subsequent loadings would only take place if Niger completely reopened its border with Benin, which is still not the case.

The meeting of the Minister of Mines of Benin with his Nigerien counterpart took place once again at the request of the partner Wapco, whom the minister judged to be “disoriented, discouraged at the end of our meeting because he did not know what the exit door was “.

At the end of the two days of meetings, no solution seemed to have emerged.

Regarding the opening of the land border on the Niger side, “the Niger side was told to submit the problem to the highest level with a solution to be found as soon as possible”, explained the Beninese minister.

“Benin will continue to play its role in bilateral relations” with Niger “but also in the obligations that are ours in the pipeline project,” he concluded.

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