ECOWAS decides to lift the sanctions imposed on Guinea and Mali with part of the sanctions imposed on the Niger

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The leaders of the member countries of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) decided to lift part of the sanctions imposed on Niger as a result of the military coup that ousted elected President Mohamed Bazoum at the end of last July.

The head of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Ali Tawari, said in a statement that the emergency summit of the West African Community “decided to lift with immediate effect” some of the sanctions imposed on Niger, explaining that “the borders and airspace will especially be reopened”.

The Gambian official added that the partial lifting of sanctions also includes allowing “financial transactions between the ECOWAS countries and Niger to resume again,” and also includes ending the freeze on Niger’s assets “for humanitarian reasons”.

Touray highlighted that “individual and political sanctions are still in place,” without providing further details, and in return demanded the “immediate release” of ousted Nigerian President Mohamed Bazoum, who has been detained by the military regime with his wife for 7 months.

Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the rotating head of ECOWAS, said during the opening of the summit that the approach must be reviewed “towards the return of constitutional order in four of the member states,” referring to Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and Guinea Conakry.

One the same context, a statement by the West African Organization explained that ECOWAS decided to lift the financial and economic sanctions imposed on the Republic of Guinea as well as the restrictions imposed on the employment of citizens of the Republic of Mali in positions within the institutions of the Economic Community of West African States.

The statement didn’t mention Burkina Faso, one of the four countries in the region that has been led by military regimes since 2020 and is also subject to ECOWAS sanctions.

ECOWAS banned Guinea’s financial transactions with its affiliated institutions a year after Colonel Mamadi Doumbouya came to power, after he ousted President Alpha Conde in September 2021.

As for Mali, which witnessed two coups in 2020 and 2021, the regional organization imposed economic and financial sanctions on it, which it lifted in July 2022, when the ruling military junta announced a timetable for the political transition process.

Lifting sanctions represents a step that reflects the organization’s endeavor to open a dialogue with the three military regimes, after Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso announced their intention to withdraw from ECOWAS, after the West African Community faced a serious a crisis after 3 of its member states, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, announced their withdrawal from it last January.

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