Niger: Ecowas Prepares to Lift Sanctions on Niger – Report

Dakar — According to information from Jeune Afrique, regional organization Ecowas will lift the economic sanctions on Niger “soon” – a decision made after the coup on July 26, 2023, by General Abdourahamane Tchiani against elected president Mohamed Bazoum.

Negotiations between the Alliance of Sahel States (AES) and the mediators of the regional organization seemed to be at a standstill. At the end of January 2024, tension rose between the juntas, led by the Malian Assimi Goïta, the Burkinabè Ibrahim Traoré and the Nigerien Abdourahamane Tiani, and the West African civilian regimes, when the military-ruled countries first announced their departure from ECOWAS.

To break the deadlock, the heads of state at Ecowas have decided to take the first step – reportedly preparing to removed sanctions placed on Niger – the only country still subject to such measures.

The announcement is expected to be made before Ramadan, which is scheduled to begin on March 10. “There are still two or three recalcitrant countries that need to be reassured, but there should be no blockages,” said a minister, who hopes that this gesture will be seen as “an outstretched hand” and will be able to prevent their departure from Ecowas. According to allAfrica’s information, states that are still cautious fear that this decision will appear as a way of “giving in to blackmail”.

“The sanctions were not imposed with the aim of lasting. They were supposed to make it possible to quickly stem the wave of coups d’état, and in Niger, to restore President Mohamed Bazoum to his functions. However, it did not work, and as political leaders, it is therefore our duty to question this decision,” said another West African minister.

Following the announcement of the withdrawal of countries from Ecowas, the presidents of the organization instructed their foreign ministers to study this issue during the extraordinary session of Ecowas, which was held on February 8 in Abuja.