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Flags of Members of the Economic Community of West Africa bloc-ECOWAS. /CFP

ECOWAS maintains that Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger remain members of the bloc

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On Sunday, the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) officially reaffirmed the membership of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger within the regional bloc, countering earlier declarations by the respective military juntas in these countries expressing their intention to withdraw.

Flags of West African countries pictured at the 64th Ordinary session of the ECOWAS Head of State and Government in Abuja, Nigeria. /CGTN

The ECOWAS Commission issued a statement clarifying that it had not received any direct notification from the three member states regarding their withdrawal from the community. The statement emphasized the continued importance of Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali within the ECOWAS community. The Authority of Heads of State and Government expressed its commitment to seeking a negotiated solution to the ongoing political impasse.

The declarations made by the military junta leaders earlier on Sunday were broadcast on national television in Mali and Niger, causing international concern. According to Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga, the Malian Minister of Territorial Administration and Decentralization, and spokesperson for the transitional government of Mali, the decision to withdraw was taken in “full sovereignty” by the leaders of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger. They asserted that they were assuming responsibility for their actions in response to the expectations, concerns, and aspirations of their populations.

Established in 1975, ECOWAS aims to promote economic integration across various sectors, including industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial issues, as well as social and cultural matters. In response to the military takeovers in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, ECOWAS, headquartered in Abuja, Nigeria, has imposed substantial sanctions on the three countries to demand a return to constitutional order.

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