Three sanction-hit west African countries seek re-entry to AU and ECOWAS
Foreign ministers from Burkina Faso, Guinea and Mali, all of which recently underwent military coups, have called for their reinstatement into the African Union (AU) and Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) following a trip to the region by Russian envoy Sergey Lavrov.
The top diplomats from the three west African countries said in a joint statement last week (9 February) that they had agreed to work together to push for the lifting of their suspensions from the two key regional blocs, adding that ECOWAS sanctions “affect populations already battered by insecurity and political instability”. Abdoulaye Diop of Mali, Morissanda Kouyate of Guinea and Burkina Faso’s Olivia Rouamba held talks in the Burkinabe capital, Ouagadougou, after Lavrov travelled to Mali earlier in the week to pledge assistance to West African countries battling armed groups.
The three countries had “agreed to pool their efforts and undertake joint initiatives for the lifting of the suspension measures and other restrictions” by AU and ECOWAS, according to a joint statement released after the meeting. A string of coups unfolded in the three countries since 2020, bringing in governments that have bristled at external demands to restore civilian rule, leading to suspensions from regional groups. Mounting insecurity in the Sahel region led the three ministers to agree on “the need to combine their efforts and those of the countries of the sub-region and the region to deal with this scourge”, the statement said. All three countries are under pressure from ECOWAS to return swiftly to civilian rule. Mali and Guinea were also subject to other sanctions that have since been partially lifted.