ECOWAS Commission Distances Self from Mali, Burkina Faso Quitting Bloc

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has distanced itself from a statement made by Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger announcing their withdrawal from the community.

The ECOWAS Commission said it has not received any direct formal notification from the three Member States about their intention to withdraw from the Community.

The ECOWAS Commission has been working with these countries to restore constitutional order, as directed by the Authority of Heads of State and Government.

ECOWAS Commission said it will continue to monitor the situation and make further pronouncements as the situation evolves.

Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso said in a joint statement Sunday that they were leaving ECOWAS “without delay” and “with immediate effect”, citing the bloc’s failure to support them in their fight against terrorism and insecurity.

ECOWAS has been trying to pressure the three countries to restore civilian rule and respect democratic principles. ECOWAS had suspended the three countries from its ranks and imposed sanctions on them following military coups that toppled their elected governments.

The three countries, which are among the poorest and most unstable in the region, have been struggling with jihadist violence and social unrest for years. They have also been increasingly aligning themselves with Russia, a rival of France, the former colonial power and a key ally of ECOWAS.

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