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Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger pull out of ECOWAS

 

The military regimes in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger yesterday announced their immediate withdrawal from the Economic Community of West African States, ECOWAS, saying it had become a threat to member states.

The ECOWAS Commission, however, said the community is ready for a “negotiated solution” with the three countries

But the Presidency in its immediate reaction yesterday, said the three countries were technically not members of ECOWAS, since they were on suspension.

Leaders of the three Sahel nations issued a statement saying it was a “sovereign decision” to leave the ECOWAS “without delay”.

Struggling with jihadist violence and poverty, the regimes have had tense ties with ECOWAS since coups took place in Niger last July, Burkina Faso in 2022 and Mali in 2020.

All three, founding members of the bloc in 1975, were suspended from ECOWAS with Niger and Mali facing heavy sanctions as the bloc tried to push for early return of civilian governments with elections.

The sanctions were an “irrational and unacceptable posture” at a time when the three “have decided to take their destiny in hand”, a reference to the coups that removed civilian administrations.

The three nations have hardened their positions in recent months and joined forces in an “Alliance of Sahel States”.

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