Mali says ECOWAS withdrawal is irreversible

Mali says ECOWAS withdrawal is irreversible
Mali says ECOWAS withdrawal is irreversible

Malian Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Abdoulaye Diop has said that the departure of his country, Burkina Faso and Niger from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is irreversible.

Mali remains open to cooperation with ECOWAS, Mr Diop said Monday evening on state television ORTM.

The Malian minister also spoke out against the possible introduction of visas for nationals of the three countries travelling in the ECOWAS area.

Mr Diop was speaking the day after an ECOWAS summit held in Abuja on Sunday, during which it appointed the Senegalese and Togolese presidents as mediators in discussions with Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

The three countries announced in January that they were leaving the 15-member organisation. They announced at their own summit on Saturday the establishment of a confederation.

Read also: ECOWAS-AES: Senegalese president stresses the need for dialogue

The authorities of these three Sahelian countries criticize ECOWAS for the sanctions imposed in response to the putschs and accuse it of being manipulated by France and of not supporting them against terrorism.

“Our heads of state were very clear in Niamey in indicating that the withdrawal of the three countries from ECOWAS is irrevocable and was done without delay, and from this moment we must stop looking in the rearview mirror,” explained the head of Malian diplomacy, adding that Mali remains “open to working with our neighbors and other organizations with which we share this space.”

“We will have to maintain discussions with others to move forward, but I think that the path that has been taken is not reversible,” he said, specifying that the creation of a confederation is only one step.

“The vision is to work towards achieving a federation of three states,” said Mr. Diop.

If visas are reinstated, “it proves us right in the sense that certain ECOWAS officials have not abandoned the old methods of scaring the population, of blackmailing the population,” said the Malian minister.

With MAP

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