President Boakai Supports Lifting of Sanctions on Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger and Offers Liberia’s help to Mediate

(Abuja, February 24, 2024): In the following special statement issued today in Abuja, Nigeria, at the ECOWAS Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government, President Joseph Nyuma Boakai supported the lifting of sanctions on Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, to promote peace and avert the three ECOWAS Member States from carrying out their threats to withdraw from the regional body.

According to a release from the Embassy of Liberia in Abuja, the President’s Special Statement was presented on his behalf by Dr. Al-Hassan Conteh, Liberia’s Ambassador to Nigeria and Permanent Representative to ECOWAS.

Here is the full Statement of President Boakai:

Your Excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairperson of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government.

Your Excellencies, Presidents and Heads of State and Government of the ECOWAS Authority.

Please allow me to stand on the protocol well established earlier by the Chair of the Authority for this solemn occasion.

I wish to extend you, Mr. Chairperson and all Excellencies Heads of State and Government my heartfelt appreciation for your steadfast leadership in ably running the affairs of our enviable regional body, ECOWAS. Let me extend my  apologies for  being unable to join you at this important Summit due to prior unavoidable national engagements at this time.

Please accept my thanks and gratitude for gracing my recent inauguration in Monrovia, Liberia, as the 26th President of the Republic of Liberia and for your commendation of Liberia in fostering democracy in our region.

Excellencies, let me inform you that my administration has unveiled Liberia’s new, sustainable development agenda of implementing sustainable development programs in Agriculture, Roads, Rule of Law, Education, Sanitation and Tourism for the elevation of the standard of living of the Liberian people.

I look forward to collaborating with you, Mr. Chairperson, and all Excellencies and our development partners in implementing these programs within the context of ECOWAS Vision 2050, “ECOWAS of the Peoples: Peace and Prosperity for all.”

Excellencies, Liberia takes note of the Memorandum on the Political, Security, and Peace in our region presented by His Excellency the President of the ECOWAS Commission.

Liberia is concerned about the spectre of events threatening the unity and prosperity of ECOWAS.

In this respect, Liberia takes special note of the open letter addressed to the Heads of State and Government of ECOWAS Member States dated February 13, 2024, by the former Head of State of Nigeria, General Dr. Yakubu Gowon, GCFR, in which he proposed the lifting of ECOWAS sanctions against Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger in exchange for the withdrawal of their exit notices from ECOWAS.

Excellencies, as we are aware, His Excellency Dr. General Gowon is a founding member of ECOWAS. His doctrine of regional unity is rooted in the notions of community solidarity encompassing the social and cultural links of the people of West Africa. These principles were uppermost in the minds of the founding fathers of ECOWAS, including Liberia’s President, His Excellency William R. Tolbert, Jr., and Togolese President, His Excellency Gnassingbe Eyadema, with who and other Heads of State, he collaborated to establish the regional body in 1975. Therefore, his views on ECOWAS matters, as the only surviving member of the founding fathers of ECOWAS, is of considerable importance to Liberia.

In view of the severe regional, political, security, and socio-economic implications of the withdrawal of the three Member States from ECOWAS presented by the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council at the Ministerial Level on February 8, 2024, in Abuja, Nigeria, it is important urgently to put a mechanism in place to ensure the continued membership of the three Member States in ECOWAS.

Therefore, the lifting of sanctions on Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, to ensure their commitments to the roadmaps already being negotiated by ECOWAS for their return to constitutional democracies would be necessary to retain the sanctity of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democratic and Good Governance, which is the fulcrum for the maintenance of peace and security in the ECOWAS region.

In view of the above, and considering the importance of maintaining the sanctity of the ECOWAS Supplementary Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance,     and to prevent a floodgate of future unconstitutional  changes of government in the  region through military coup d’états,  Liberia supports the General Gowon Proposal   of lifting of sanctions on our three Member States and encourage them to join the negotiating table to recommit themselves to their roadmaps for the holding of democratic elections and the return to constitutional democracies as soon as practicable.

Pursuant to this altruistic proposal, Liberia recommends the setting up of a Committee of Eminent Statespersons, including former or current Heads of States, and the current mediators in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger, with the mandate of engaging the three Member States on the modalities of withdrawing their exit notices under Article 97 of the ECOWAS Treaty.

Let me express that I would be honoured to use my good offices to serve as a member of the proposed “ECOWAS Eminent Statespersons Mediation Committee” and to provide Liberia’s unflinching support in other ways deemed necessary to achieve peace and prosperity in our region.

Thank you Excellencies. I wish all of us a productive outcome of this Extraordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and government.”

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