CONAKRY, Sept 8 (Reuters) – West Africa’s main political and economic bloc suspended Guinea’s membership on Wednesday following a weekend military coup that ousted President Alpha Conde and dealt the latest in a flurry of setbacks to democracy in the region.
During a virtual summit, leaders from the 15-member Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) demanded a return to the constitutional order and Conde’s immediate release, and also agreed to send a high-level mission to Guinea as soon as Thursday, said Burkina Faso’s Foreign Minister Alpha Barry.
“At the end of that mission, ECOWAS should be able to re-examine its position,” Barry told reporters.
He did not announce any immediate economic sanctions against Guinea, as ECOWAS imposed against Mali following a coup there in August 2020.
Some experts say ECOWAS’s leverage with Guinea could be limited, in part because the country is not a member of the West African currency union and not landlocked like Mali.
The economic bloc’s response is being closely watched amid criticism from pro-democracy advocates that it has not stood up robustly enough in recent months against democratic backsliding in West Africa.