The African Union (AU) has expressed regret over the membership withdrawal of the three Sahel Nations, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger Republic, from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
The statement was made by the AU president Moussa Faki Mahamat and released on its verified X (formerly Twitter) page on Tuesday.
According to Mahamat, the bloc feels “deep regret” over the quitting of the three countries from the bloc.
The AU chair called “on regional leaders to intensify the dialogue between the ECOWAS leadership and the three aforementioned countries”, which accused the regional bloc of threatening their sovereignty over the weekend.
The bloc further stated that the commission of the African Union was willing “to provide all the assistance in its power for the success of the logic of fraternal dialogue, far from all external interference from wherever they come”.
The leaders of the three Sahel nations had released a statement saying it was a “sovereign decision” to leave the ECOWAS “without delay”.
The military regimes have had a strained relationship with ECOWAS since coups took place in Niger last July, Burkina Faso in 2022 and Mali in 2020.
They were suspended from ECOWAS, with Niger and Mali facing heavy sanctions.
The Sahel nations said the sanctions were an “irrational and unacceptable posture” at a time when the trio “have decided to take their destiny in hand” — referring to the coups that toppled civilian leaderships.
Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger have recently firmed up their positions and entered into an “Alliance of Sahel States”.
The commission released a statement citing that it was yet to receive an official notification from the three Sahel nations concerning their move to withdraw their memberships from the bloc.
The ECOWAS added that it has been “working assiduously with these countries for the restoration of constitutional order. Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali remain important members of the Community and the Authority remains committed to finding a negotiated solution to the political impasse”.
“The ECOWAS Commission remains seized with the development and shall make further pronouncements as the situation evolves,” the statement added.