ECOWAS reacts to three member states ‘withdrawal’ from body

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has said it is yet to receive any formal notification of exit from Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso. 

NewsClick Nigeria reports that the announcement came after the military regimes of the three nations, contemplating the creation of an Alliance of Sahel States as a counterforce against ECOWAS, revealed their decision on Sunday. This move followed the overthrow of Niger’s democratically elected government, leading ECOWAS, under President Bola Tinubu’s leadership, to threaten military action if the junta in Niger resisted a peaceful power transfer.

Despite ECOWAS’s firm stance, the Niger junta stood its ground, receiving solidarity from Mali and Burkina Faso in their defense. On Sunday, leaders of these Sahel nations jointly declared a sovereign decision to exit ECOWAS.

In a statement released by the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja on Sunday evening, the body emphasized its ongoing efforts to restore constitutional order in collaboration with Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali. The Commission highlighted the significance of these three nations within the Community and assured that the Authority of Heads of State and Government remains devoted to negotiating a resolution to the political impasse.

The communique from ECOWAS Commission states, “The attention of the Commission has been drawn to a statement broadcast on the National Televisions of Mali and Niger announcing the decision of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger to withdraw from ECOWAS. The ECOWAS Commission is yet to receive any direct formal notification from the three Member States about their intention to withdraw from the Community.”

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

ECOWAS maintains optimism, emphasizing the continued importance of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso within the Community as negotiations persist in pursuit of a diplomatic resolution to the current political challenges.