ECOWAS says it remains concerned about the detention of Burkina Faso President after coup

The Authority of Head of states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) says it remains very concerned about the duration of the transition period set for thirty-six (36) months by the Transition Charter.

“In this regard, and in accordance with the Communiqué issued by the Extraordinary Summit of 3rd February 2022, the Authority: reiterates its strong condemnation of the coup d’Etat of 24 January 2022; demands the immediate and unconditional release of President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré; decides to uphold the suspension of Burkina Faso from all ECOWAS institutions until constitutional order is restored; demands the finalisation of an acceptable transition timetable no later than 25th April 2022. After this deadline, economic and financial sanctions will be immediately applied; calls on the International Community to strengthen its humanitarian support to Burkina Faso.

“Furthermore, the Authority decides to appoint a Mediator for Burkina Faso to facilitate dialogue among all stakeholders and ensure a smooth transition.

On the social and political situation in Guinea the Authority expresses serious concern over the lack of visibility on the transition.

It noted that the six-month deadline set by ECOWAS for the conduct of elections has not been respected.

“Furthermore, the transition timetable is still not available, priorities have not been set and little progress has been made in the transition process,” it said.

Similarly, it added, the socio-political situation is deteriorating due to insufficient dialogue between the government and political stakeholders and civil society actors.

“Consequently, the Authority: Demands the finalisation of an acceptable transition timetable no later than 25th April 2022. After this deadline, economic and financial sanctions will be immediately applied; calls on the government to promote the inclusiveness and dialogue with the political stakeholders and civil society actors in handling the transition in order to reduce tension in the country and ensure a peaceful transition; urges the Transition Authorities to comply with the laws and regulations in the process of recovering the presumed state assets.

“In view of the socio-political crisis and the urgent need to facilitate dialogue between all stakeholders, the Authority reaffirms the decision to appoint a Facilitator” ECOWAS said.

On the social and political situation in Mali the Authority notes that the security and humanitarian situation in Mali continues to deteriorate with attacks by terrorist groups resulting in military and

civilian casualties.

It noted that during the last mission of the ECOWAS Mediator to Mali from 18th to 20th March 2022, the Transition Authorities proposed a 24-month timetable, that is, two (2) years in addition to the 18 months that have already elapsed.

The Authority notes that, in view of the global political and security situation, there is an urgent need to reach an agreement in order to avoid further deterioration of the situation in the country.

The Authority says it regrets the non-availability of the President of the Transition to physically honour the invitation extended to him to participate in the Summit in order to find a solution to the current situation in Mali.

The Authority congratulates and commends the efforts made by the ECOWAS Mediator with a view to obtaining a consensual timetable to ensure a quick return to constitutional order, in accordance with the ECOWAS and African Union protocols and decisions.

“In light of the foregoing, the Authority urges the Transition Authorities to adhere to the additional period of 12 to 16 months which has been agreed by the joint technical team ECOWAS/AU/UN for the extension of the transition with effect from 15th March 2022, taking into account the activities required for the conduct of the presidential elections. The Authority decides to send the Mediator to Mali to continue and finalise the discussions on the chronogramme with the Transition Authorities.

“Furthermore, the Authority decides to: a. uphold the sanctions imposed on 9th January 2022; continue the dialogue with a view to reaching an agreement to ensure a gradual lifting of the sanctions; call on partners to increase their humanitarian support to Mali, a communique issued after te meeting said.

The Authority expresses deep concern about the deteriorating security situation in Mali. The Authority urges the Transition Authorities to step up efforts to enhance security in the country and reiterates its call on Member States and the Commission to accompany the efforts of the Transition Authorities in this regard.

At the opening ceremony on Friday March 25, Chairman of the ECWOAS, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo described the three countries as recalcitrant member of the ECOWAS.

“Members of the authority of ECOWAS, I want to welcome your Excellencies back to Accra again to take stock of where we are with our three recalcitrant member states – Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso take appropriate decision on the way forward.

 “I want to thank you once again for the short notice you responded to the invitation to this meeting, once a gain a clear indication of your determination to assume your responsibilities for the security of ECOWAS.”

ECOWAS had earlier imposed some sanctions believing that this was going to restore the countries to constitutional rule,

“[The heads of state] also, of course, reaffirmed ECOWAS’ firm commitment to work and help Guinea in this process of restoring the constitutional order.

“They insisted also on the close support of traditional partner the United Nations, the African Union, European Union and also other bilateral countries and they also decided that there will be a visit by the Chair of the Authority to the Republic of Guinea as soon as possible to convey those messages regarding the decision of the Summit personally,” ECOWAS said during an earlier meeting held in Accra