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The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Saturday lifted certain strict sanctions on junta-led Niger, a move seen as an attempt to convince three countries ruled by the military not to withdraw from the bloc and preserve regional integration, Reuters reported.

Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali jointly decided in January to leave ECOWAS. All three states went through a series of military coups and faced sanctions from the political and economic union.

One of the world’s poorest countries, Niger suffered from the bloc’s sanctions as it had to cut down on public spending and default on over $500 million of debt payments. Referring to humanitarian reasons to justify its decision, ECOWAS removed sanctions targeting border closures, central bank and state assets, and commercial transactions.

The president of the ECOWAS Commission, Omar Touray, said a few sanctions were kept but did not specify which ones.

Nonetheless, the move will be seen as an appeasement strategy, the newswire wrote. The bloc, created nearly 50 years ago, has been battered by a political crisis due to coups throughout West Africa. Over the past three years, Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali saw their militaries take over power, highlighting ECOWAS’ failure to prevent democratic backsliding.

After the army detained Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum in July last year, the bloc imposed strict measures to pressure the junta to release him.

The crisis deepened with Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali’s withdrawal announcement, which threatens to wreck $150 billion worth of trade and service flows in the region. The three military governments based their decision to exit immediately on the sanctions, which they called illegal.

The sanctions lift comes after ECOWAS chairman Bola Tinubu advised the alliance to rethink its strategy as it tries to hold the breakaway member states in.

Alongside Niger, junta-led Guinea also had certain sanctions lifted. Guinea did not advertise an ambition to leave ECOWAS but did not commit to a democratic transition timetable either.

Meanwhile, Burkina Faso, Niger, and Mali said they wanted to form a confederation based on their new mutual defense pact, the Alliance of Sahel States. The project remains a question mark for now, as the juntas are still combatting Islamist armed groups.

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