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BREAKING: Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso pull out of ECOWAS

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The military regimes in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger announced Sunday their readiness to withdraw from the West African bloc, ECOWAS.

The juntas said in a joint statement read out on state television in all three countries that they have “decided in complete sovereignty on the immediate withdrawal of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),”.

They said the bloc has “moved away from the ideals of its founding fathers and pan-Africanism” after nearly 50 years of its establishment.

“Furthermore, ECOWAS, under the influence of foreign powers, betraying its founding principles, has become a threat to its member states and its populations whose happiness it is supposed to ensure,” their statements read.

Widely seen as West Africa’s top political and regional authority, the 15-nation bloc of ECOWAS — formed in 1975 to “promote economic integration” in member states — has struggled in recent years to reverse rampant coups in the region where citizens have complained of not benefitting from rich natural resources.

Though, it’s not immediately clear how that process of the countries’ withdrawal from the bloc would be carried out.

Meanwhile, ECOWAS didn’t immediately respond to an Associated Press inquiry, though the bloc has said it only recognizes democratic governments.

Recall that the bloc’s regional court also ruled last year that juntas lack the power to act in place of elected governments on behalf of their nations.

In September 2023, the three countries signed a mutual defence pact to assist one another against armed rebellion or external aggression.

The charter – Alliance of Sahel States – binds the countries to assist one another – including militarily should there be an attack against one of them.

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