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19 Feb, 2024 09:10

ECOWAS ready to strengthen ties with Russia

The African bloc is looking for a partnership to enhance the organization, Omar Alieu Touray has said
ECOWAS ready to strengthen ties with Russia

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is ready for a mutually beneficial partnership with Russia, its commission president Omar Alieu Touray told RIA Novosti on Sunday. 

ECOWAS is looking for a partnership that would unite and enhance the bloc, Touray said.

“I think there are a number of areas ECOWAS has been cooperating with many partners on. And, I am sure that when we sit around the table with our Russian friends, we should be able to identify areas which would benefit all of us,” he stated.

“We are looking for a partnership that would help us develop, that would unite us.”

In January, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger announced that they were “immediately” withdrawing from ECOWAS, accusing it of serving foreign interests and posing a threat to the countries. The regional group had imposed sanctions on the three former French colonies to pressure them into restoring democratic rule after coups deposed civilian governments in Ouagadougou, Bamako, and Niamey.

However, Touray described the announcement to quit the bloc as a “hasty decision” by the military regimes with no substantive reasons provided. 

“The three member states have not really reflected on the implications of this decision on citizens,” the ECOWAS commission president stated.

The three countries established the Alliance of Sahel States in September 2023. 

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the new organization was also pursuing a course of rapprochement with Russia. Moscow continues to work actively with African nations in a wide range of areas, she added. 

Commenting earlier on the withdrawal of the three African nations from ECOWAS, Zakharova said Russia was closely following the situation. She expressed hope that problems with the relationships between the members of the association could be resolved through dialogue.