West African bloc to gradually ease sanctions on Niger

By Xinhua
On 11 December 2023 at 02:40

The 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has promised a gradual easing of sanctions on Niger based on outcomes of engagement with the military junta in that country following the ousting of President Mohammed Bazoum in July.

In a statement at the end of the 64th ordinary session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS in the Nigerian capital of Abuja Sunday, the West African bloc set up a committee made up of the presidents of Togo, Sierra Leone, and Benin to engage with the military junta in Niger on the need for a short transition roadmap and the emplacement of monitoring mechanisms.

"Based on the outcomes of the engagement by the CNSP (National Council for the Safeguard of the Homeland), the Authority will progressively ease the sanctions imposed on Niger," the statement said. "Failure by the CNSP to comply with the outcomes of the engagement with the committee, ECOWAS shall maintain all sanctions, including the use of force, and will request the African Union and all other partners to enforce the targeted sanctions on members of the CNSP and their associates."

The West African leaders emphasized the need for the immediate and unconditional release of Bazoum while deploring both his continued detention and that of his family members and associates, as well as the lack of commitment on the part of the CNSP to restore constitutional order.

In an earlier extraordinary summit in August, the bloc vowed to enforce all sanction measures, in particular border closures and strict travel bans, on all individuals or groups whose actions hinder peaceful efforts to restore constitutional order in Niger.

The military in Niger detained Bazoum on July 26 and chose Abdourahamane Tchiani, former leader of the country’s presidential guard, to lead the CNSP, a governing body established by the soldiers after the coup, which has been since exercising legislative and executive authority.

The ECOWAS comprises Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo.