The Summit of the Authority of Heads of State of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Accra last Saturday to deliberate on the political situations in Mali, Guinea and Burkina Faso was very important.
The importance of this extraordinary summit lay in the fact that it considered the reports presented by the former Nigerian President, Goodluck Johnathan, on the situation in Mali, the reports of the ECOWAS assessment mission in Burkina Faso and the report on the situation in Guinea presented by the ECOWAS Council of Ministers, chaired by the Ghanaian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey.
The summit, convened by the Chairman of the ECOWAS Authority, President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, brought together other regional leaders, as well as former Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, currently mediator in the Malian crisis, Mousa Faki Mahamat, President of the African Union Commission, Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, President of the ECOWAS Commission, among other dignitaries.
It is clear that even if the regional leaders were not satisfied with the reports they received and considered, they had to exercise restraint in making certain decisions that could affect the citizens of the three countries in political crisis.
This can be seen in their refusal to impose new sanctions on the three military leaders.
Already, countries’ membership of ECOWAS, the regional body, is suspended and this has implications for their political and socio-economic relations with their neighbours.
Given the circumstances, it was entirely appropriate for regional leaders to ask the transitional authorities of Burkina Faso, for example, to maintain the momentum towards strengthening security in the country and to call on the international community to step up its support humanitarian aid in Burkina Faso.
The Ghanaian Times agrees that ECOWAS has raised concerns about the 36-month transition period set by the Burkinabe, but needs to be clear on what it describes as an acceptable transition timetable.
The leaders have already chosen to go through the diplomatic channel and must therefore dialogue with the Burkinabé transition team for a timetable acceptable to all.
Such a dialogue is definitely in line with ECOWAS’ position to adopt similar diplomatic options to resolve the political crises in the three affected countries.
We consider the appointment of the former President of Niger, Mahamadou Issoufou, as the ECOWAS mediator for Burkina Faso, to lead the dialogue between all stakeholders in this country, as appropriate.
This diplomatic dialogue must be used even more in Mali, faced with the deterioration of the socio-political situation in this country due to the lack of an appropriate framework for dialogue between the military government on the one hand and the political actors and civil society organizations on the the other.
This would help ease socio-political tensions in the country and ensure the peaceful transition expected by all.
The Ghanaian Times is confident that Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas will use his rich experience in diplomatic and international politics to successfully accomplish his mission as ECOWAS mediator in Guinea.
It is expected that when ECOWAS leaders meet on July 3, 2022 to consider decisions on the three countries, there would be positive grounds to assure the world that all parties would act in good faith to ensure peaceful transitions in the three Western countries. African countries.