Burkina Faso and Guinea, where the military has taken control by force, have requested additional time from their West African neighbors to develop a transition plan. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) announced on Wednesday that the Monday, April 25th ultimatum has expired.
Burkina Faso wished for more time than the April 25 deadline set by West African heads of state a month earlier, according to an ECOWAS statement, “in order to continue consultations on numerous matters.” “Guinea highlighted the latest advancements in the transition process and also begged for extra time in connection to the April 25 deadline,” the organization noted, in order to “allow for more consultations.”
ECOWAS declared that missions would be dispatched to the two countries ahead of an upcoming conference of heads of state, with no specific dates set. Both countries’ governments have said unequivocally that they will not agree to ECOWAS’s demands, which puts them at risk of even more penalties from the group.
Burkina Faso’s government spokesman, Lionel Bilgo, said on Monday that the three-year transition period before civilians return to power would not be shortened. “We are not going to jeopardize our efforts to restore peace to Burkina Faso by adhering to an illusory timeline that ignores the reality on the ground,” he said.
The Guinean administration in Conakry stated that it would not operate “under duress or under the diktat of anyone.” In answer to a question concerning Guinea’s possible withdrawal from ECOWAS, government spokesman Ousmane Goual remarked, “Nothing is excluded.” Colonel Mamady Doumbouya has been the leader of Guinea since September 2021, when he ousted Alpha Conde. In Burkina Faso, Lieutenant Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba overthrew Roch Marc Christian Kaboré in a coup at the end of January.
Both countries have been expelled from ECOWAS entities, and Guinea has been sanctioned economically. Mali, another country in the area, has been suspended and is facing hefty fines after two putsches since August 2020.