Senior diplomats in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso Thursday issued a joint statement calling on ECOWAS and the AU to lift their suspensions.
Mali’s foreign minister Abdoulaye Diop met with his counterparts, Morissanda Kouyate of Guinea, and Olivia Rouamba of Burkina Faso, in Ouagadougou, soon after Russian’s foreign minister Sergei Lavrov visited west Africa earlier in the week to pledge support to the region that has been plagued by jihadists.
The West African diplomats said they “agreed to pool their efforts and undertake joint initiatives for the lifting of the suspension measures and other restrictions,” in reference to their positions on the regional blocs.
The three nations are temporarily under the leadership of military personnel and are facing mounting pressure from West Africa’s ECOWAS to return swiftly to civilian rule.
Mali and Guinea were subject to sanctions that have been partially lifted.
Diplomats in the two nations have slammed the sanctions, saying they “affect populations already battered by insecurity and political instability, deprive ECOWAS and the AU of the contribution of the three countries needed to meet the major challenges, and undermine sub-regional and African solidarity.”
In a trip to Bamako on Tuesday, Russia’s foreign minister said the Kremlin is opening to support Africa amid the fight against jihadism.
“We are going to provide our assistance to them (Africans) to overcome these difficulties,” said Lavrov.
“This concerns Guinea, Burkina Faso and Chad and the Sahel region generally and even the coastal states on the Gulf of Guinea,” he added.