West Africa: Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger Withdraw from ECOWAS

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is losing three of its members as Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger have officially announced their withdrawal. In a joint statement dated January 28, Captain Ibrahim Traoré, Colonel Assimi Goïta, and General Abdourahamane Tiani, Presidents of the transitional governments of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, respectively, declared their decision to leave the West African organization «with immediate effect», deeming their membership no longer beneficial.

This decision is based on a number of inconsistencies on the part of the organization and an attitude that has become «a threat to its member states and populations, which it was supposed to ensure happiness for».

The States of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) are no longer members of ECOWAS.

In a note signed by their spokespersons, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger enumerate several factors that led to this decision.

For these three countries whose former Heads of State were co-founders of ECOWAS in 1975, the institution has turned its back on its ideals of solidarity, brotherhood, development, mutual assistance, and peace.

It has become an organization in the service of imperialist powers, unable to «provide assistance to our states in the context of our existential struggle against terrorism and insecurity», regret the transitional governments.

The final straw, according to the three countries, is the inhumane and degrading sanctions imposed on them when they decided to take control of their destiny.

«It has adopted an irrational and unacceptable stance by imposing illegal, illegitimate, inhumane, and irresponsible sanctions in violation of its own texts», states the communiqué, which includes the list of sanctions provided by ECOWAS texts in case of non-compliance with obligations.

Therefore, the three Sahelian countries, «taking all their responsibilities before history and responding to the expectations, concerns, and aspirations of their populations, decide in all sovereignty the immediate withdrawal of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger from the Economic Community of West African States».

With the departure of these three important members, following Mauritania’s withdrawal in 2000, ECOWAS is now reduced to 12 member states.

This development raises questions about the organization’s future.



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