The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has expressed its readiness to seek a negotiated solution in response to the recent announcement by Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger of their intention to leave the regional group. Despite not having received any formal notification of withdrawal from these countries, ECOWAS emphasized their significance as “important members of the community” and its commitment to resolving the political stalemate.
This development follows a reports that the military regimes of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger declared their immediate withdrawal from ECOWAS. The decision, described by the leaders of these Sahel nations as a “sovereign decision,” was announced on Sunday, indicating their intent to exit the ECOWAS “without delay.”
The backdrop of this decision involves strained relations between these countries and ECOWAS, exacerbated by jihadist violence and economic challenges. The ties have been particularly tense following coups in Niger in July last year, in Burkina Faso in 2022, and in Mali in 2020. These political upheavals have significantly impacted the relationship between these nations and the regional bloc.
ECOWAS, in its statement, highlighted its dedication to finding a peaceful and diplomatic resolution to this impasse. The organization’s approach indicates a willingness to engage in dialogue and negotiations to address the concerns of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, and potentially reconsider their decision to withdraw.