ECOWAS removes sanctions from Niger, Mali, Burkina Faso
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ECOWAS has officially lifted the sanctions on Niger for the unconstitutional takeover of their government on July 26, 2023. 

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The July 2023 military putsch was the fifth successful one in Niger since its independence from France in 1960.


ECOWAS leaders in Abuja, Nigeria[/figure]

In the July 2023 coup Niger’s presidential guard removed and detained democratically-elected President Mohamed Bazoum.

ECOWAS Commission’s chairman, Gambia’s President Omar Touray announced the lifting of the sanctions at the end of the Extraordinary Session of the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS member countries.

He said the decision was based on humanitarian considerations, the socio-economic impacts of the sanctions on Nigeriens and the security of the sub-region.

“The Authority calls for the immediate release of former President Bazoum and also calls on the transition authorities in Niger to provide an acceptable transition timetable to constitutional order.

“The Authority has resolved to lift with immediate effect sanctions imposed on Niger and has lifted the closure of land and air borders between it and ECOWAS member countries.

“No-Fly-Zone of all commercial flights to and from Niger is to be lifted. Suspension of all commercial and financial transactions between ECOWAS member states and Niger are to be lifted.

“Freezing of all service transactions including utility services is to be lifted. 

“Freezing of assets of Niger in ECOWAS Central Bank is to be lifted. Freezing of assets of Niger and the state’s enterprises and parastatals in commercial banks is to be lifted,’’ he said.

Touray said Niger had also been exempted from suspension of all financial assistance and transactions as well as travel ban placed on its officials and their family members.

He explained that humanitarian considerations on the Lenten period and the upcoming holy month of Ramadan contributed to the lifting of the sanctions.

The Authority , he said, also lifted sanctions regarding the recruitment of Malian citizens in statutory and professional positions within ECOWAS.

“The Authority has also resolved to lift financial and economic sanctions on the Republic of Guinea.

“It instructed the President of the Commission to invite Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali and Guinea to attend the technical, consultative and security meetings of ECOWAS.

“The authority calls on E COWAS institutions, member states and other regional institutions to implement these decisions,’’ Touray said.

On the withdrawal by Burkina Faso, Niger and Mali from ECOWAS, Touray said the Authority urged the countries to reconsider the ir decision.

He said this was in view of the benefits that the ECOWAS member states and their citizens enjoyed in the community.

The Authority expressed its concern over the socio- economic, political security and humanitarian impacts of the decision, particularly on the citizens of the three countries and on regional integration process, he said.

“The authority further urges the three member states to resort to dialogue, negotiations and mediation to address their concerns.

“The authority urges the three member states to adhere to the provisions of the 1993 revised.

“They should particularly consider the treaty relating to withdrawal, particularly the article that encourages ECOWAS to sustain its rapprochement and overtures towards the member states, Touray said.

He added that the Authority encouraged outreaches with traditional, religious leaders, eminent personalities, civil society and women leaders for the unity and security of the region.

The Authority reiterate d the urgent need for ECOWAS to expedite the operations of its standby force to fight against terrorism in the sub-region, including the elements of the Multinational Joint Task Force and the Accra initiative.

In this regard, the Authority instructed the commission to convene the meeting of ministers of finance and defence to propose modalities for financing and equipping counterterrorism efforts.

The Malian coup took place on Aug. 18, 2020; that of Burkina Faso was on Sept. 30 of the same year, while that of Guinea took place on Sept. 5, 2021.

In the Guinean coup, President Alpha Condé was captured by the country’s armed forces.