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ECOWAS Did Nothing to Help Fight Terrorism in Sahel, Says Malian Foreign Minister

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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has done nothing to help the Sahel countries fight terrorism, said Mali’s Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop, Sputnik reported.

Minister Diop explained the reasons for his country’s withdrawal from the organization during discussions at the 3rd Antalya Diplomacy Forum in Turkey on Sunday.

“When we took the example of ECOWAS and its anti-terrorism program, we saw nothing, no help. They left us to solve the problem on our own. So we saw no point in staying in that organization,” he said during a discussion on Sahel security issues at the forum.

What’s more, some partners who wanted to work with the Sahel countries were at the root of the spread of terrorism and financed it, said the head of Mali’s diplomacy.

Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso will now focus on strengthening their security within the framework of the Alliance of Sahel States (AES), said Minister Diop. He added that the sanctions imposed on Mali after the coup were unfair.

In Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, the number of victims of terrorism increased fivefold after 2016, with 4,000 people killed by terrorists and extremists in these countries in 2019. Terrorist attacks have led to a sharp increase in displacement and divisions, including between religious communities.

On September 16, 2023, the three countries formed the military Alliance of Sahel States to jointly fight terrorism. In late January this year, the AES countries announced their withdrawal from the regional bloc ECOWAS, citing the organization’s ineffectiveness in combating terrorism.

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