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President Bassirou Faye will assist in resolving 3-nation ECOWAS pullout – Akufo-Addo

Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso in January 2024, announced they were leaving ECOWAS. The junta-led countries had already been suspended by body

President Addo-Addo has stated that the newly sworn-in President of Senegal, President Bassirou Diomaye Diakhar Faye, will use his goodwill in Senegal and within the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) to assist in resolving the pullout of Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali from the regional bloc.

Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso in January 2024, announced they were leaving ECOWAS. The junta-led countries had already been suspended from the bloc, which has been urging them to return to democratic rule. The three governments said it was a “sovereign decision” to withdraw from Ecowas.

The three countries are founding members of the bloc, which was first established in 1975. In a joint statement – that was read out to state broadcasters in the three countries – they said ECOWAS had ” drifted from the ideals of its founding fathers and the spirit of Pan-Africanism.”

Relations between the ECOWAS bloc and the three countries (Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso) have been tense after military coups took place in Niger in July, Burkina Faso in 2022 and Mali in 2020. ECOWAS has called on all three countries to return to their respective nations to civilian rule.

Addressing the press after holding bilateral talks at the Jubilee House on Friday, 17 May 2024, as part of President Bassirou Diomaye Diakhar Faye’s official one-day state visit to Ghana, President Akufo-Addo said President Faye has during their talks, demonstrated commitment towards ECOWAS’s efforts aimed at bringing the three countries back to the bloc and to the table for negotiations to continue.

“His [President Bassirou Diomaye Diakhar Faye] election was a source of reassurance to all of us who are interested in the democratic future of our region and of our continent. It appeared at one time as if Senegal’s reputation as a country committed to the principles of democratic accountability, respect for human rights, and rule of law, was being jeopardized.

“But fortunately, good sense prevailed, elections were held, and out of the elections, Bassirou Faye emerged as the clear convincing winner of the elections and the manner in which he ascended to the presidency has brought peace and unity to his country and that again Senegal is going to play a very important role in the development of the ECOWAS community has now been fully confirmed, President Akufo-Addo said.

“We are lucky to have a new leader in place because I think he is also going to help us to try and resolve the big problem that we have in the ECOWAS community and that is the purported departure of three of the key nations in ECOWAS; Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali.

“President Faye is very committed to seeing what he and the rest of us can do to reach out and revive the dialogue that would enable us to extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood to these three countries and find a way to bring them back within the ECOWAS community,” President Akufo-Addo added.

President Bassirou Diomaye Diakhar Faye in his remarks [in French] expressed his appreciation to President Akufo-Addo for attending his investiture last April and for the hand of friendship and fellowship he has extended to him since his election and upon assumption of office as President of the Republic of Senegal.

He welcomed the challenge thrown at him President Akufo-Addo and by extension, the rest of ECOWAS, to help reconcile the three countries, (Mali, Burkina Faso, and Niger) who are currently out of the regional bloc. The Senegalese leader when he arrived at the Jubilee House, inspected a guard of honour formed at the forecourt of the Jubilee House.

After the bilateral talks between the two leaders, President Akufo-Addo hosted a state banquet (lunch) in honour of President Bassirou Diomaye Diakhar Faye. Before departing the Jubilee House, President Faye signed the guest book at the foyer of the Jubilee House.

The Majority Leader and member of Parliament for Effutu constituency in the Central Region, Alexander Afenyo-Markin, on behalf of the Government, saw the Senegalese president off at the jubilee lounge of the Kotoka International Airport as he departed back to his country.

Reporting by Wilberforce Asare in Accra

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