ECOWAS President Speaks On Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger Returning To Bloc

The President of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission, Dr Omar Alieu Touray, has expressed concern over the reluctance of Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger to reengage with the regional bloc.

Speaking at the 92nd Ordinary Session of the Council of Ministers in Abuja on Thursday, Dr Touray highlighted the challenges ECOWAS faces in bringing these nations back into the fold following their announced withdrawals.

On January 28, the military juntas governing Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger declared their intentions to leave ECOWAS, citing various grievances.

According to Dr Touray, despite ongoing efforts, there has been little indication that the three countries are prepared to reconsider their decision.

“ECOWAS was yet to establish a framework for negotiation with the authorities in these three Sahelian countries,” he said during his address.

In contrast to the situation with Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger, Dr. Touray noted some positive developments with Guinea, another member state that has experienced recent political instability.

Touray said, “Despite our entreaties, in the form of softening of sanctions, invitation of the governments to technical meetings, and request for meetings, we have not yet gotten the right signals from these

“It has become evident that changes in the international system, which is significantly affecting our member states, is playing a role.

“To this end, we are proposing a Special Summit on the Future of our Community to examine the developments in the world and their impact on our community with a view to re-think our integration in terms of governance, relations with external partners, our Community norms and values, and approach to emerging issues like new technologies, social media and fake news, among others.”

Meanwhile, the ECOWAS President has raised an alarm that the bloc’s financial status is not healthy, adding that numerous challenges facing the region were telling on the body’s financial standing.

He said, “As the demands increase, and the challenges become more complex, our financial situation is dwindling.

“Therefore, we will be highlighting some of the challenges associated with the Community Levy mobilisation.

“I must admit that some of these issues are recurring and would require urgent and decisive action to improve the financial situation of the institutions and enable ECOWAS to respond to the diverse demands of the day.”

While declaring the meeting open, Amb. Yusuf Maitama Tuggar, Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Chair of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, said the meeting would discuss diverse and pressing issues affecting the region.

He said, “This session will delve into a multitude of areas, including the President’s 2024 ECOWAS Mid-Year Report, which will provide us with a comprehensive assessment of the progress achieved, while identifying areas that require further action.

“We will also receive updates on the financial situation of the community, the status of tasks assigned to Community Institutions, and the resolutions of the 35th Administration and Finance Committee.

“Furthermore, we will receive key presentations, reports and memoranda, including the Auditor General’s 2024 Mid-year Report and the outcome of the 55th Meeting of the Audit Committee, which will offer valuable insights into the financial health of ECOWAS.”

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