Niger extends olive branch to ECOWAS with invite to join new alliance

Niger has extended an olive branch to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The Nigerien Prime Minister, Ali Mahaman Lamine Zeine, has invited all ECOWAS countries to join the seemingly budding Alliance of Sahel States (AES). This invite follows ECOWAS’s stated intention to bring the AES countries back to the West African bloc.

In September 2023, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali formed a regional alliance; the Alliance of Sahel States (AES), outside of ECOWAS which they formerly belonged.

They did this with the goal of improving their collective security measures and fostering socioeconomic growth for their populations. Additionally, they did this in the face of sanctions Niger received from ECOWAS.

Despite the disagreements that had led to the formation of the AES, Niger has decided to encourage ECOWAS members to join the group.

The Minister extended the invitation at the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank, in Nairobi, Kenya, as seen in a report by Sputnik.

“I can’t be too provocative, but I want to ask ECOWAS to join the AES. There are ECOWAS countries that would probably want to join the AES because the culture of sovereignty and dignity of the continent exists within the AES,” Zeine said.

This invite follows Ghana and Nigeria’s push for the Senegalese President Bassirou Diomaye Faye to support the reunification of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso inside the ECOWAS.

The ECOWAS Parliament intends to establish an ad hoc mediation committee to bring Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso back to the bloc, according to reports published in Nigerian media last week.

At the start of the year, the countries that make up the AES decided to withdraw from ECOWAS, noting that the group had been very ineffective in the fight against terrorism.

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