ECOWAS Lifts Sanctions Against Guinea and Mali

ECOWAS Chair and Nigeria’s President, Bola Tinubu, during second summit on Niger coup held in Abuja on Thursday, August 10, 2023

These actions are a move by ECOWAS toward resuming negotiations with the Sahel juntas. Burkina Faso, one of the four countries governed by military governments since 2020 and subject to ECOWAS sanctions, is not listed.

After Niger, Guinea, and Mali. In a statement issued on Sunday, February 25, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) announced “lifting financial and economic sanctions against the Republic of Guinea” as well as “lifting restrictions on the recruitment of Republic of Mali citizens for positions within ECOWAS institutions.”

The regional group called a new emergency session on Saturday to examine “politics, peace, and security in the Republic of Niger,” as well as “recent developments in the region.” Omar Alieu Touray, President of the ECOWAS Commission, did not specify the easing of sanctions against Guinea and Mali in his farewell address on Saturday evening.

In Guinea, ECOWAS prohibited financial dealings with its member institutions a year after Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya took power and deposed President Alpha Condé in September 2021. On Monday, the junta commander issued an order dissolving the administration that had been in office since July 2022.

The regional union placed economic and financial sanctions on Mali, which witnessed two coups in 2020 and 2021, until lifting them in July 2022 when the ruling junta revealed its transition timeline.

Mr. Alieu Touray declared on Saturday afternoon that ECOWAS has “decided to immediately lift” the strongest sanctions placed on Niger since the military dictatorship gained control in Niamey, ousting elected President Mohamed Bazoum in July.

Burkina Faso, one of four countries governed by military regimes since 2020 and subject to ECOWAS sanctions, is not mentioned in the regional organization’s final statement.

These moves are a step forward for ECOWAS in beginning discussion with these three military regimes, as Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso, which have notably turned away from France and drawn closer to Russia, stated in January that they would quit ECOWAS. The three countries formed the Alliance of Sahel States (AES).

Written by PH

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