Last updated on February 13th, 2023 at 08:28 am
After the visit to the region by the Russian ambassador, Sergey Lavrov, the foreign ministers of three nations in West Africa that have lately been the target of military coups have appealed for their countries to be readmitted into two important regional blocs. In a joint statement released on Thursday, the top diplomats of Mali, Guinea, and Burkina Faso said that their countries had agreed to work together to try to get their suspensions from the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) (AU) lifted.
Olivia Rouamba of Burkina Faso, Abdoulaye Diop of Mali, and Morissanda Kouyate of Guinea met in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, after Sergey Lavrov traveled to Mali earlier in the week to pledge assistance to West African countries that are fighting armed groups. Lavrov was in Mali to discuss the situation there. In a joint statement released after the conference, the three countries said they had “decided to join forces and work together to ease the suspension measures and other restrictions” put in place by ECOWAS and the AU.
Since 2020, a series of coups d’état have taken place in the three countries, ushering in administrations that have resisted pressure from other countries to return to civilian rule. As a result, these countries have been suspended from regional organizations. As the level of danger in the Sahel region continues to rise, the three ministers came to the conclusion that “it is necessary for them to unite their efforts with those of the countries of the sub-region and the region to deal with this scourge,” as said in the statement.
In favor of maintaining strong military connections with the Kremlin, Mali has severed ties with France, its former colonial power and traditional friend. As a result, there is growing concern that Burkina Faso will follow Mali’s lead and cut ties with France as well. Mali’s Diop said, “This is the first time that I have been in Burkina Faso since the struggle of the Burkinabe people, which led to a correction enabling the recovery of sovereignty and territorial integrity in this brother country.”
People in Mali and Burkina Faso were angry with the military for its part in a conflict that killed thousands of people and forced millions more to leave their homes. Because of this rage, the military took control of the countries. The public outrage in Guinea against then-President Alpha Conde, who was seen as moving in the direction of authoritarianism, served as the catalyst for the military coup in that country.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is putting pressure on all three countries to quickly return to civilian rule. Mali and Guinea were also targets of other sanctions, some of which have been partially withdrawn since they were imposed. The diplomats said that they didn’t like the sanctions because “they hurt people who are already struggling with insecurity and political instability.” They also keep ECOWAS and the AU from getting the help they need from the three countries to deal with the biggest problems, which hurts sub-regional and African solidarity.
Lavrov paid respect to the relationships that have been formed between Mali and Russia in the fight against armed groups on Tuesday while he was in Bamako for a visit. He said that the Kremlin was ready to help the country right now by giving it more help. Lavrov said that it is natural for the other countries in the area to be involved in the fight against terrorism.
“In order to help them get over these challenges, we are going to provide them with our aid.” This affects the countries of Guinea, Burkina Faso, and Chad, as well as the Sahel region as a whole, and even the states that are located on the shore of the Gulf of Guinea. Since its takeover of power in 2020, the military government of Mali has imported Russian aircraft, helicopters, and paramilitaries. France has accused these individuals of being Wagner mercenaries.