ECOWAS Affirms Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger’s Continued Membership Amidst Withdrawal Talks

In a statement marking the ECOWAS Day celebrations, the Vice President of the ECOWAS Commission, Damtien Tchintchibidja, affirmed that Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger remain members of the regional bloc despite their expressed intention to withdraw. Tchintchibidja clarified that, according to ECOWAS protocols, the process of withdrawal takes one year from the date of notification, which extends until January 29, 2025.

During an event commemorating ECOWAS Day in Abuja, Nigeria, Tchintchibidja emphasized the importance of maintaining solidarity within the ECOWAS community and highlighted ongoing efforts to dissuade the three nations from exiting the bloc. Describing the situation as a “work in progress,” she underscored ECOWAS’ commitment to engaging in negotiations to persuade the countries to reconsider their decision.

Tchintchibidja expressed regret over the potential departure of the member states, emphasizing the strength of unity within the community. She reiterated the interconnectedness of the region’s peoples and the familial ties that transcend national borders, emphasizing the shared identity and mutual benefits of ECOWAS membership.

The announcement comes following Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger’s notification to ECOWAS of their intent to withdraw from the regional bloc earlier this year. The Commission had imposed sanctions on the countries following military takeovers, leading to tensions between the nations and ECOWAS.

Meanwhile, as ECOWAS commemorates its 49th anniversary, Tchintchibidja highlighted the organization’s founding principles aimed at promoting economic integration, free movement of people, and regional cooperation. She underscored the importance of collective action in addressing common challenges such as terrorism, emphasizing the need for a unified strategy to combat cross-border threats effectively.

As part of the anniversary celebrations, students from various schools were invited to the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, aiming to educate them about ECOWAS’ mission, accomplishments, and vision for the future. The theme for this year’s ECOWAS Day, “Strengthening Regional Unity, Peace, and Security,” reflects the organization’s commitment to fostering cohesion and stability across the West African region.

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