ECOWAS Insists Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali Remain Members

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By Adedapo Adesanya 

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali remain important members of the bloc as it is yet to receive any direct formal notification about their intention to withdraw from the community.

It said the Authority of Heads of State and Government, its highest decision-making organ, remains committed to finding a negotiated solution to the political impasse.

In a statement on Sunday, 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 said.

Earlier on Sunday, the military regimes in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger announced their immediate withdrawal from the West African bloc, saying it has become a threat to member states.

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

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

All three nations — 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.

According to the joint statement from the trio, the sanctions were an “irrational and unacceptable posture” at a time when the three “have decided to take their destiny in hand” referring to seizing power from civilian governments.

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

The leaders’ joint statement added that 15-member ECOWAS, “under the influence of foreign powers, betraying its founding principles, has become a threat to member states and peoples”.

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