Mali, Guinea, Burkina Faso seek re-entry into the regional blocks | News

The foreign ministers of the three countries say the ECOWAS sanctions are ‘affecting a population already affected by insecurity and political instability’.

The foreign ministers of three West African countries that were recently hit by a military coup called for their re-establishment in two key regional blocs following a visit to the region by Russian envoy Sergei Lavrov.

The top diplomats of Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso said in a joint statement on Thursday that they had agreed to work together to push for the lifting of their suspensions from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU). .

Mali’s Abdoulaye Diop, Guinea’s Morissanda Kouyate and Burkina Faso’s Olivia Rouamba held talks in Burkina Faso’s capital, Ouagadougou, after Lavrov traveled to Mali earlier this week to pledge aid to West African countries fighting armed groups.

The three countries “agreed to pool their efforts and take joint initiatives to lift suspension measures and other restrictions” by ECOWAS and the AU, according to a joint statement released after the meeting.

A series of coups have occurred in the three countries since 2020, leading to governments that bristled at external demands to install civilian rule, leading to suspension from regional groups.

Growing insecurity in the Sahel region led the three ministers to agree on “the need to pool their efforts and those of the countries of the sub-region and the region to deal with this scourge,” the statement said.

Mali has fallen out with France, its former colonial power and traditional ally, in favor of close military ties with the Kremlin, and there is growing speculation that Burkina Faso will follow suit.

“This is the first time I am in Burkina Faso since the struggle of the people of Burkina Faso, which led to the correction that allowed the recovery of sovereignty and territorial integrity in this brotherly country,” said Diop from Mali.

Military regimes took power in Mali and Burkina Faso amid anger at the military for victims of a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives and driven millions from their homes.

The coup d’état in Guinea had various causes, all of which were rooted in public anger against then-president Alpha Conde for stumbling toward authoritarianism.

All three countries are under pressure from ECOWAS to quickly return to civilian rule.

Mali and Guinea were also subject to other sanctions that have since been partially lifted.

Diplomats strongly condemned the sanctions, saying they “affect populations already affected by insecurity and political instability, deprive ECOWAS and the AU of the three-country contribution needed to address major challenges, and undermine subregional and African solidarity.”

During a visit to Bamako on Tuesday, Lavrov paid tribute to the ties forged between Mali and Russia in the fight against armed groups.

He said that the Kremlin is ready to provide the country with further support.

“The fight against terrorism is, of course, an issue for other countries in the region,” Lavrov said.

“We will give them our help to overcome these difficulties. This applies to Guinea, Burkina Faso and Chad and the Sahel region in general, and even the coastal states in the Gulf of Guinea.”

Since taking power in 2020, Mali’s military government has brought in Russian jets, helicopters and paramilitary troops – personnel France says are Wagner’s mercenaries.

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