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    43 months ago

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    ABUJA, Nigeria (AP) — West African nations Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger have withdrawn from the regional economic bloc known as ECOWAS, their respective juntas announced Sunday.

    The juntas said in a joint statement read on state television in all three countries that they have “decided in complete sovereignty on the immediate withdrawal of Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS),” alleging that the bloc has “moved away from the ideals of its founding fathers and pan-Africanism” after nearly 50 years in existence.

    “Furthermore, ECOWAS, under the influence of foreign powers, betraying its founding principles, has become a threat to its member states and its populations whose happiness it is supposed to ensure,” their statements read.

    Widely seen as West Africa’s top political and regional authority, the 15-nation bloc of ECOWAS — formed in 1975 to “promote economic integration” in member states — has struggled in recent years to reverse rampant coups in the region where citizens have complained of not benefitting from rich natural resources.

    The joint statement accused ECOWAS of failing to assist those three countries in fighting “existential” threats like terrorism — the common reason cited by their militaries for deposing their democratically elected governments.

    “When these States decided to take their destiny into their own hands, it (ECOWAS) adopted an irrational and unacceptable posture in imposing illegal, illegitimate, inhumane and irresponsible sanctions in violation of its own texts,” the statement noted.


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