ECOWAS Disappointed by Lack of Progress with Junta-Led Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger

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ABUJA, July 8 (Reuters) – The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) expressed disappointment over the lack of progress in reconciliation efforts with the breakaway, junta-led countries of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. ECOWAS announced plans to intensify its reconciliation efforts.

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During the opening of a summit in Abuja, Nigeria, on Sunday, ECOWAS Commission President Oumar Touray warned of the region’s risk of disintegration and worsening insecurity following the signing of a confederation treaty by the three Alliance of Sahel States (AES).

The treaty highlighted the juntas’ determination to exit ECOWAS after nearly 50 years, as they also severed military and diplomatic ties with Western powers and sought stronger relations with Russia.

“The Authority expresses disappointment with the lack of progress in engagements with the authorities of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger and instructs the President of the Commission to facilitate a more vigorous approach,” ECOWAS said in a communique released on Monday.

ECOWAS plans to “develop a forward-looking contingency plan” for all eventualities in its relations with the AES.

The juntas in Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali came to power through a series of military coups between 2020 and 2023. It remains unclear how closely the AES will harmonize their political, economic, and defense policies as they face a decade-old battle with Islamist insurgents and strive to develop some of the world’s poorest economies.

The departure of these countries could weaken ECOWAS, and Touray emphasized that the bloc’s benefits, such as freedom of movement and a common market of 400 million people, were under threat.

ECOWAS re-elected Nigerian President Bola Tinubu as chairman for another year and assigned the leaders of Senegal and Togo to negotiate with the juntas to bring them back into the bloc.

The ECOWAS leaders also approved the decision to mobilize a 5,000-strong regional standby counter-terrorism force, initially starting as a 1,650-man brigade to be increased over time. Member countries are expected to fund the force and will also seek financial support from the African Union.

By Naija247news
By Naija247newshttps://www.naija247news.com/
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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