Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger quit ECOWAS regional block

32

Three West African junta-led states Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso said on Sunday they are immediately leaving the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), a regional economic bloc that has been urging them to return to democratic rule, according to Reuters News Agency.

 

The decision by the three countries, announced in a joint statement read out on Niger national television, is a blow to the bloc’s regional integration efforts after it suspended the three countries following military takeovers.

 

Since the coups, and despite the sanctions, negotiations and threats of military intervention, the military leaders have failed to provide a clear time table to return the countries to constitutional rule.

 

Instead, they have hardened their rhetoric against the bloc and accused it of being influenced by external powers.

 

The three countries have also cut military and cooperation ties with former colonial master France, and turned to Russia for security support.

 

The three military leaders in Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, have argued that they want to restore security before organising elections as the three Sahel nations struggle to contain insurgencies linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

 

“After 49 years, the valiant peoples of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger regretfully and with great disappointment observe that the (ECOWAS) organization has drifted from the ideals of its founding fathers and the spirit of Pan-Africanism,” Colonel Amadou Abdramane, Niger junta spokesman, said in the statement.

 

“The organization notably failed to assist these states in their existential fight against terrorism and insecurity,” Abdramane added.

 

It is unclear for now how the decision by juntas in Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali will impact the 15-member regional bloc where goods and citizens move freely.

 

According to the bloc’s treaty, member states wishing to withdraw must give a written one-year notice.

 

It is unclear for now if the three states have done so. The treaty say they must continue to abide by its provisions during the year-long period.

 

The three countries are also members of the eight-nation West African Monetary Union (UEMOA) that uses the West Africa CFA franc currency pegged to the Euro.

 

The monetary union, following decisions by ECOWAS leaders after the coups in Mali and Niger, had cut off their access to the regional financial market, and the regional central bank. It later restored Mali’s access but Niger remains suspended.

 

Meanwhile, in a statement released last Sunday in Abuja, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) said it has not yet received formal notification of withdrawal from Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger.

 

ECOWAS, a political and economic union of 15 West African countries, responded to announcements on the national television stations of Mali and Niger regarding the decision to withdraw from the union.

 

The ECOWAS Commission emphasized that it has not received direct formal notification from the three member states about their intention to leave the community.

 

The statement reiterated ECOWAS’s commitment to working towards the restoration of constitutional order in Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali, viewing them as important members of the community.

 

“The ECOWAS Commission is yet to receive any direct formal notification from the three member states about their intention to withdraw from the Community,” the statement said.

 

“The ECOWAS Commission, as directed by the Authority of Heads of State and Government, has been working assiduously for the restoration of constitutional order in those countries.

 

“Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali remain important members of the Community and the Authority remains committed to finding a negotiated solution to their political impasses.

 

The Commission says it will continue to monitor the situation and provide further updates as necessary.

 

Three West African junta-led states Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso said they are immediately leaving the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

 

Since the coups, and despite the sanctions, negotiations and threats of military intervention, the military leaders have failed to provide a clear time table to return the countries to constitutional rule.

 

Instead, they have hardened their rhetoric against the bloc and accused it of being influenced by external powers.

The three countries have also cut military and cooperation ties with former colonial master France, and turned to Russia for security support.

 

In another development, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has assured the three states, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, saying ‘You are important to our community’.

 

Although ECOWAS says it is yet to receive any direct formal notification from the three Member States about their intention to withdraw from the Community, the authority “remains committed to finding a negotiated solution to the political impasse” in those countries.

 

In a statement, the three African countries complained that ECOWAS “has drifted from the ideals of its founding fathers and the spirit of Pan-Africanism,” hence their decision.

 

ECOWAS, in its communiqué, affirmed its commitment to working diligently with Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger to restore constitutional order, in line with directives from the Authority of Heads of State and Government.

 

ECOWAS emphasized the continued significance of Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali as integral members of the Community.

 

These countries are currently led by militaries that seized power from civilian leaders.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here