ECOWAS yet to establish framework for Burkina, Mali, Niger negotiation withdrawal plans

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By Sankulleh Gibril Janko

The President of the ECOWAS Commission Dr. Omar Touray said the community is yet to establish a framework for negotiation with Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger on their decision to withdraw from the regional body.

The ECOWAS Commission chief made the remarks in his welcoming remark at the 92nd Ministerial Council Meeting in Abuja on Thursday.

“Regarding our Member States in transition, I regret to report that we are yet to establish a framework for negotiation with the authorities in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger on their decision to withdraw their membership from the Community,” Dr. Touray said. “Despite our entreaties, in the form of softening of sanctions, invitation of the governments to technical meetings, and request for meetings, we have not yet gotten the right signals from these Member States.”

On a lighter and more pleasant note however, the top diplomat says Guinea expressed willingness to work with the regional bloc.

“We have however gotten positive assurance from Guinea on the unity of our Community,” he noted.

Dr. Touray says events elsewhere may have contributed to some of the decisions in the region.

“It has become evident that changes in the international system, which is significantly affecting our member states, is playing a role. To this end, we are proposing a Special Summit on the Future of our Community to examine the developments in the world and their impact on our community with a view to re-think our integration in terms of governance, relations with external partners, our community norms and values, and approach to emerging issues like new technologies, social media and fake news, among others.

Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger have recently expressed their desire to withdraw from ECOWAS following sanctions on their respective countries after the coup d’etats.

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