Ecowas Condemns Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali for Disregarding Exit Procedures

Afaf Fahchouch
Afaf Fahchouch
3 Min Read
Ecowas Condemns Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali for Disregarding Exit Procedures

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) recently rebuked Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso for failing to follow the proper protocols for exiting the regional bloc. The governments of these countries, which are currently led by juntas, announced on January 28 that they would be leaving ECOWAS. They cited pressure from the bloc to restore constitutional order following recent coups as the reason for their departure.

The abrupt withdrawal of these nations poses a significant challenge to Ecowas, which has been grappling with a wave of democratic setbacks in the region since Mali experienced a military takeover in 2020. The departure of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso threatens to undermine decades of integration efforts within West Africa.

Ecowas convened a meeting of its mediation and security council in Abuja, Nigeria, to address both the departures and a burgeoning electoral crisis in Senegal. The prolonged delay of the presidential election in Senegal, now postponed until December, has sparked public outrage and raised concerns about potential unrest.

In his opening remarks, Ecowas Commission President Omar Touray criticized the hasty decision of the three-member states to withdraw from the bloc, noting that it failed to consider the conditions outlined for withdrawal and neglected the implications for their citizens. However, Touray did not specify which conditions were disregarded.

According to Ecowas regulations, member states seeking to withdraw must provide written notice at least one year in advance. Despite this requirement, the juntas of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso announced their intention to leave “without delay,” asserting that they did not feel bound by the treaty terms.

In response, the junta-led governments accused Ecowas of imposing overly harsh sanctions, including border closures, in the aftermath of the coups, thus violating the organization’s statutes.

Ecowas has prepared two memoranda for consideration regarding the departure of the three countries, which include an analysis of the implications for member states and the wider community. Additionally, the council is addressing the electoral crisis in Senegal, recognizing the potential threat it poses to regional peace and stability.

The council commenced a closed-door session following the opening remarks to deliberate on a collective response to the challenges at hand.


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