ECOWAS gathers to discuss current security and political issues in the region

Foreign ministers from West Africa are convening urgent discussions on Thursday in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, to address the political turmoil in Senegal and conflicts with military leaders in three additional member nations.

The extraordinary session of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) follows President Macky Sall’s sudden decision to postpone elections in Senegal, just a week after Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger declared they were quitting the bloc.

ECOWAS has urged Senegal – one of its most stable member states – to return to its election timetable, but critics have already raised concerns about the organization’s influence over member states that are becoming increasingly resistant.

Last month, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, already suspended from ECOWAS, announced their joint withdrawal, worsening a diplomatic headache for the West African bloc.

ECOWAS was formed in May 1975 in Lagos. The only other member to withdraw before now was Mauritania in 2000.