AU expresses ‘deep regret’ over Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger ECOWAS withdawal

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On Tuesday, the African Union expressed “deep regret” at Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger’s withdrawal from ECOWAS.

The AU said its commission president, Moussa Faki Mahamat, “calls on regional leaders to intensify the dialogue between the ECOWAS leadership and the three aforementioned countries,” who accused the West African bloc on Sunday of threatening their sovereignty.

It further stated that the African Union Commission was eager “to provide all the assistance in its power for the success of the logic of fraternal dialogue, far from all external interference from wherever they come”.

On Sunday, the leaders of the three Sahel nations issued a statement saying it was a “sovereign decision” to leave the Economic Community of West African States “without delay”.

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 the 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”.

No Formal Notification’

ECOWAS would issue its own statement saying it was yet to receive any direct formal notification from Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger Republic about their intention to withdraw from the Community.

the Commission said it has been “working assiduously with these countries for the restoration of constitutional order. Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali remain important members of the Community and the Authority remains committed to finding a negotiated solution to the political impasse”.

“The ECOWAS Commission remains seized with the development and shall
make further pronouncements as the situation evolves,” the statement added.

Nigeria Open For Engagement

Nigeria also expressed sadness over the Sahel nations withdrawal from the West African bloc saying  it ”remained open for engagement with the three countries.”

“For half a century, ECOWAS has worked to promote peace, prosperity, and democracy in the region. Nigeria stands with ECOWAS to emphasise due process and shared commitment to protect and strengthen the rights and welfare of all citizens of Member States,” the statement partly read.

“Nigeria has worked sincerely and in good faith to reach out to all members of the ECOWAS family to resolve the difficulties being faced. It is now clear that those seeking to quit the Community do not share that same good faith.

“Instead, unelected leaders engage in a public posturing to deny their people the sovereign right to make fundamental choices over their freedom of movement, freedom to trade, and freedom to choose their own leaders.