The West Africa bloc ECOWAS said on Friday it aborted a negotiation mission to speak with military leaders in Niger because of technical problems with a chartered aircraft. The Economic Community of West African States has imposed tough sanctions on Niger since a coup in July ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, but it is trying to negotiate a transition back to civilian rule. The prime minister appointed by Niger’s military regime on Thursday criticised ECOWAS for “bad faith” after only Togo’s foreign minister turned up for a scheduled meeting. “The delegation of the community spent all day Thursday at the airport in Abuja, ready to fly to Niamey,” ECOWAS said in a statement. “Unfortunately, there were technical problems with the aircraft the commission had chartered for the flight from Abuja to Niamey.” ECOWAS said it would reschedule the mission as soon as possible. Niger’s rulers had hoped for a chance to work through differences with ECOWAS states. Since the coup, ECOWAS has insisted Bazoum must be released from detention if sanctions are to be rolled back and that the military rulers agree to a short transition back to civilian rule. Bazoum’s son Salem, initially held with his parents, was released on January 8 and is in Togo, whose foreign minister Robert Dussey has been seeking to mediate with the coup regime. Niger’s leadership says it plans to hand back power to a civilian administration after three years and began 2024 with a push for regional talks ahead of a national dialogue about a roadmap to the transition.