West African bloc lifts sanctions on Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger -Xinhua

West African bloc lifts sanctions on Burkina Faso, Mali, Niger

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-02-25 19:23:15

ABUJA, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- The 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Saturday lifted drastic sanctions earlier placed on Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to pressure military juntas in those countries to return to constitutional order.

Sanctions on three countries would be lifted immediately, Omar Touray, president of the ECOWAS Commission, said in a statement after an extraordinary summit in the Nigerian capital of Abuja.

Touray announced the immediate lifting of sanctions on three countries following an extraordinary summit of the Authority of Heads of State and Government held Saturday in Abuja, Nigeria.

"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. The 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," read the statement.

ECOWAS, headquartered in Abuja, imposed the sanctions after the military took power in the three countries.

Furthermore, the regional bloc declared the resumption of all service transactions, including utilities, within ECOWAS countries and Niger. Additionally, asset freezes on Niger in the ECOWAS Central Bank and ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development have been lifted.

ECOWAS has removed the travel ban imposed on members of Niger's military junta and their families, citing humanitarian considerations during Lent and the approaching month of Ramadan.

Additionally, the regional bloc lifted sanctions on the election of Mali citizens to ECOWAS positions and removed economic sanctions on Guinea.

On Jan. 28, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger jointly declared an intention to withdraw from ECOWAS in response to the sanctions, sparking concerns among the international community.

Stating it was yet to receive any direct notification from the three member states about their intention to withdraw from the community, the ECOWAS Commission said the countries remained integral members of the regional bloc.

ECOWAS was founded in 1975 to promote economic integration in industry, transport, telecommunications, energy, agriculture, natural resources, commerce, monetary and financial questions, and social and cultural matters.