ECOWAS Plans Vigorous Efforts to Reconcile Juntas

ECOWAS Plans Vigorous Efforts to Reconcile Juntas
ECOWAS Plans Vigorous Efforts to Reconcile Juntas

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has expressed disappointment over the lack of progress in reconciling with the breakaway, junta-led nations of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. In response, the regional organization has announced plans to undertake "more vigorous" reconciliation efforts.

At the start of a summit in the Nigerian capital Abuja, ECOWAS Commission President Oumar Touray highlighted the risks of regional disintegration and worsening insecurity following the recent confederation treaty signed by the three Alliance of Sahel States (AES). This treaty underscores the juntas' intent to exit the nearly 50-year-old ECOWAS, having already severed military and diplomatic ties with Western powers while seeking 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 stated in a communique released.

Additionally, ECOWAS announced its intention to "develop a forward-looking contingency plan" to address all potential scenarios in its relations with the AES.

Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali have all experienced military coups between 2020 and 2023, leading to the formation of their juntas.

The departure of these countries from ECOWAS could significantly weaken the bloc. Touray emphasized that the freedom of movement and a common market for 400 million people, which ECOWAS provides, are under threat.

During the summit, Nigerian President Bola Tinubu was re-elected as ECOWAS chairman for another year.

In a decisive move, ECOWAS leaders approved the mobilization of a 5,000-strong regional standby counter-terrorism force, which will initially consist of a 1,650-man brigade and will be increased over time.